July 20, 2012
The week of July 22 to 28 celebrates Natural Family Planning (NFP) Awareness Week . This modern family planning method follows Church teaching and offers many benefits for married couples and their family.
Natural Family Planning teachers and coordinators would like to share more about NFP with you. Learn more about below, see what NFP events are in the diocese, and read a witness by a mother that practices NFP.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for modern, healthy, scientifically accurate, and reliable methods of family planning.
NFP methods are different from and better than artificial contraception because they cooperate with, rather than suppress, a couple's fertility; can be used both to achieve and avoid pregnancy; call for shared responsibility and cooperation by husband and wife; require spousal communication; foster respect for and acceptance of the total person; have no harmful side effects; and are virtually cost free.
NFP is unique because it enables its users to work with the body rather than against it. Fertility is viewed as a reality to live, not a problem to be solved.
Events in the diocese
Celebrate NFP Week
Monday, July 23 at St. John Vianney in Fishers
The Couple to Couple League is sponsoring an event to celebrate NFP week. Adoration and confession will be held from 4:30 - 5:45 p.m., Mass will be celebrated at 6 p.m., and a reception will follow featuring presentations by Dr. Melanie Margiotta, MD and Susan Hoefer, NFP Coordinator.
Mass and Ice Cream Social
Friday, July 27, at St. Joan of Arc in Kokomo
Mass at 5:30 p.m. with a free ice cream social to follow. Celebrate God's gift of married love and the blessings of children. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about NFP, contact Susan Hoefer, NFP Coordinator at email@example.com or 765.471.8734
"How Natural Family Planning Changed My Life"
By Dawn Farias
As a child I was baptized Catholic, but essentially grew up with no religious practice. As a married adult, I reentered the Church, and soon after felt a tugging at my heart to stop practicing contraception. At that time, I did not know about Natural Family Planning (NFP). More basic, I did not know about Church teachings on the moral practice of family planning. What I would learn about God’s design for my married life and through the practice of NFP would change my life.
When my husband, Ariel and I took an NFP class, I have to admit that I was scared. Giving up control, was frightening! It was one thing to be committed to an ideal, but something quite different to follow through on it. It definitely involved a leap of faith! Over time and with some experience, I began to appreciate the gift and beauty of NFP. In practicing NFP, my husband and I must decide if we, as a couple, are ready to embrace the possibility of a new life in each menstrual cycle. When we had used contraception, we ignored this reality. With NFP we could not ignore how God made us— as a man and a woman. NFP helped us understand the relationship that God designed between the marital act and procreation. It has made us “open to life.” It even brought our last two children into the family!
In using NFP over the years both my husband and I, now see that we give ourselves to each other fully in the marital act. For us, the idea of contraception has become almost vulgar. It cheapens the marital act. Contraception seems to say: “I love you, honey, but I don't love you THAT much.” NFP also guards against the objectification of the woman in the relationship. Contraception often keeps the woman in a defensive position because it allows “intimacy on demand.” NFP does not allow this because of the practice of periodic abstinence when not seeking a pregnancy. A deeper equality between husband and wife can be nurtured with NFP. NFP begins the process of this awareness.
The sacrifices that NFP entails have only served to make me a better person and more devoted to the Lord. Without knowing it, using contraception promotes the idea that children are a burden. Children do require lots of work, and pregnancy demands its own set of sacrifices, but NFP has helped me meet these challenges by leading me to the realization that children are God’s blessings. I am constantly forced to pray, change, make concessions and find solutions to the selfishness and laziness that come up often when meeting the needs of others. Today, I am confident that had I not been open to life in the practice of NFP, I would not have needed to depend on God, and not have grown as a person.
This growth benefits my family and the people I meet in everyday life. Jesus calls us to serve others. Marriage and parenthood are ways we can immediately apply this call in our lives. NFP has led me to be more open to life, more aware of God's design for intimacy in marriage, more dependent on Him to fulfill these plans. It has strengthened my relationship with my husband, given me personal insight and it has given our children life!
Dawn and her husband, Ariel Farias have four children and live in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. You can read more thoughts from Dawn at www.sufficientfortoday.com.