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Natural Family Planning Awareness Week

07/09/2013

“Pro-Woman, Pro-Man, Pro-Child: Discover Natural Family Planning” is the theme of the 2013 observance of National NFP Awareness Week, July 21-27, a time set aside by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as a reminder to, “celebrate and reverence God’s vision of human sexuality.” The Family Life/Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Gaylord joins with the U.S. Bishops in seeking to educate adults on the benefits of NFP. Currently there are 23 teachers for Natural Family Planning within the Diocese of Gaylord (see listing below). At a recent retreat for couples preparing for Marriage in the Diocese of Gaylord, one of the presentations offered to couples focused on Natural Family Planning (NFP). For many of the couples, it was their first introduction to NFP and they were surprised to learn of the many ways in which NFP not only benefits the health of a woman but also strengthens a marriage. One couple commented that the NFP discussion was “eye opening,” while another said, “We had no idea about NFP, and now we are thinking about using it as a couple.” All in all, five couples were so moved by the presentation that they signed up to take ongoing NFP classes. Married couples who use NFP are frequently able to list the benefits to their marriages: better communication between spouses; increased patience and emotional maturity; and growth in respect for God’s gift of fertility. There are other advantages to understanding of the science behind NFP. Having a better understanding of fertility ,for example, may help young women avoid breast cancer. NFP can also help premenopausal women understand and appreciate the gift of their own bodies. This year’s commemoration of NFP Awareness Week has particular importance because the Church is marking the 45th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on the proper regulation of procreation. Pope Paul VI prophetically foresaw the negative consequences of using contraception. He predicted that contraceptive use would lead to conjugal infidelity, a “general lowering of morality,” objectification of women, and transgressions by government authorities (e.g. sterilizations and cloning). [i] Oral contraception (the Pill) is classified by the World Health Organization as a Class 1 carcinogen [ii] that increases the chances of breast cancer [iii] , pollutes our water [iv] , and at times causes early chemical abortions by thinning the lining of the mother’s uterus [v] . To avoid these risks, couples wanting to postpone pregnancy for legitimate reasons can learn how to chart the woman’s cycle by simply interpreting certain signs in her body that indicate her fertile and infertile times. Having recourse to only infertile periods is not the moral equivalent of contraception; rather it is all-natural, healthy, and safe. NFP is Pro-Woman, Pro-Man, and Pro-Child. Couples who adopt NFP to space the births of children often find that it brings about many positive changes in their relationship and even becomes a way of life. It begins with acceptance, and even wonder, at the way the human body is made. As one woman noted, “Knowing and learning about what goes on inside of my unique body amazed me.” Women especially find this information empowering. The woman gains a new respect for herself and often finds that her husband has a new supportive attitude: “My husband respects me as a person in my own right. He accepts my fertility as part of me.” [vi] To learn more about women’s health and Natural Family Planning, contact your local parish or call 989.732.5147 or e-mail Marie Hahnenberg at mhahnenberg@dioceseofgaylord.org or Seth Peters at speters@dioceseofgaylord.org List of NFP Teachers in the Diocese of Gaylord: Steve and Cathy Czerkes Boyne Valley Catholic Community, Boyne City, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Bill and Suzanne Montgomery Holy Childhood of Jesus, Harbor Springs, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas John and Teresa Tillotson St. Francis Xavier, Petoskey, Sympto-Thermal Method, Couple to Couple League Sylvia Cortes-Lopez Hispanic Ministry, Traverse City, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Mark and Tina Dunphey St. Philip Neri, Empire, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Kris and Rebecca Kranz Holy Rosary, Cedar, Sympto-Thermal Method, Couple to Couple League Greg and Elisha Robinson Holy Rosary, Cedar, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Angela Godfrey St. Augustine, Hillman, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Karen Karbowski St. Rose of Lima, Herron, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Seth and Amy Peters Alpena Catholic Community, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Rod and Cathy Bragg St. Mary Cathedral, Gaylord, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Janet Hagedorn St. Mary Cathedral, Gaylord, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas John and Kathleen Powers St. Mary Cathedral, Gaylord, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Darlene Roper St. Mary Cathedral, Gaylord, Ovulation Method, Family of the Americas Medical Consultants Dr. Jacqueline Fitzgerald (East Vicariate) Dr. Lynn Swan (West Vicariate) To contact a Natural Family Planning teacher, please call the parish noted above. To reach the medical consultants or for other NFP, please contact the Diocese of Gaylord Family Life Office at 989.732.5147.

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