NFP Clergy Day 2015

 Last December, a handful of us sat around Bishop Vann’s dinner table talking about what we need to do to promote natural family planning in the Diocese of Orange. Four months later, NFP instructors from the various methods gathered with about 70 priests – including Bishop Vann – for a day of phenomenal talks on theology of the body, the history of NFP, NaProTECHNOLOGY, and pastoral applications in the parish. 

At the end of the event, some of us were reflecting on how quickly things have been moving with our little group…that it’s time for this message to get out to every Catholic in the pews. If the rest of the world is going to buy into the benefits of natural family planning, the Church that is promoting it needs to understand what it’s all about and why NFP is so amazing. 

It’s not a matter of seeing Catholic families with only one or two kids. Its value does not lie in the question of whether or not our kids were “planned” or “unplanned”. The heart of natural family planning is the mutual self-giving love that always leaves room for God to work in our marriages. It’s knowing with full awareness that children are always a blessing. It’s in the prayerful discernment between spouses and the peace that flows from living out God’s plan for our families, whether we are trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy. 

Does every Catholic have to use it? No. 

Do they at least need to know enough about it to practice it when necessary? Absolutely. 

Contrary to popular belief, sex is sacred…not recreational. Our babies are gifts…not burdens or punishments. Our fertility is a sign of healthy functioning…not a disease to be treated by the birth control pill, a barrier, or sterilization surgery. There is still so much work to be done and so much more education that needs to happen around this topic. 

So for everyone who played a part in making our first NFPinOC event a huge success, thank you!! It’s incredible how God called us together under the leadership of a humble Norbertine priest who caught the NFP bug in seminary and ran with it. I’m so blessed to be part of this revolutionary movement. 

And I’m so grateful that when Gary and I were engaged, our priest required us to learn it. If I never knew about NFP (specifically Creighton Model), I probably would have miscarried all of the children you see today. My husband and I probably would not have developed the dynamic of communication in our marriage that comes from charting my cycles. It’s not likely that I would have learned how important it is for me as a woman to keep track of my reproductive health and present scientifically-sound information to my doctors that can help them help me. 

I pray that more women will seek out the truth for themselves…for the sake of their own health, their marriages, and the children that they are blessed with. We need a revolution…