Online resources and personal stories from Catholic couples feature prominently as key parts of this year’s NFP Awareness Week, an annual celebration of the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality promoted by the U.S. bishops’ conference.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the broad term for a variety of natural methods Catholic married couples may use in order to track their fertility and plan and space children while following Church teaching on human sexuality, as explained in St. Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae.
This year’s theme for the annual celebration, chosen by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), is “Live the truth and beauty of God’s plan for married love!” The week, which began July 19 and lasts through July 25, includes the anniversary of the promulgation of Humanae Vitae and ends the day before the feast day of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary who themselves struggled to conceive.
“God is love and He created men and women in His image,” the U.S. bishops’ conference tweeted on Monday of NFP Week. “Human sexuality is part of God’s plan and carries within it the two-fold powers of love and life. It’s woven into the fabric of each man and woman.”
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, nearly all NFP week celebrations and resources throughout the country will be found only online this year.
According to their website, the Archdiocese of St. Louis in Missouri has a week of virtual events to mark the celebration, including a Facebook Live conversation with an “NFP-friendly” doctor, a discussion about NFP and infertility, and a panel with seminarians in which couples are invited to share their stories about NFP with the future priests.
In their resources for NFP week, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis shared a Novena for a Rebirth of Chastity and Purity, as well as its NFP class schedule through September and resources about NFP methods for couples and parishes.
The Diocese of Sioux Falls in South Dakota has shared a podcast episode of their show, “Catholic Views,” in which Emily Leedom, director of the Marriage, Family and Respect Life office for the diocese, shared “a brutally honest conversation about the joys and challenges” she has experienced regarding NFP in her own life or through her work in the diocese.
On the USCCB’s Marriage twitter profile, the bishops are encouraging Catholics to revisit NFP-themed episodes from their podcast “Made for Love,” in which several Catholic couples share their experiences with NFP methods. More stories from real couples using NFP, as well as additional resources such as an NFP instructor finder, can also be found on the USCCB’s Natural Family Planning website.