This article on our Clergy Day came out in the OC Catholic newspaper last weekend with an introductory capture of Denise and Ben’s story. Yes, my “Ripped Chart” couple! The reporter called me for an interview after speaking with Dr. Kotob and Fr. Alphonsus, and as I was sharing stories about some of my clients, she asked me for the Velasquezes’ contact info because their journey was so intriguing.
I thought it was a great overview of what we’re trying to accomplish in Orange County. Ms. Berkman didn’t have much personal knowledge about natural family planning when she began this assignment, so the opportunity she had to speak to a client couple, a NaPro doctor, a few priests, and NFP teachers opened her eyes to the full scope of the benefits this movement has to offer in terms of both marriage stability and women’s reproductive health.
Because I teach the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, much of my work is with married couples who have been dealing with infertility issues. The tangible rewards of healthier charted cycles and “NaPro babies” are so encouraging to all of us who serve these clients. But since CrMS can also be used to avoid pregnancy, I am also blessed to help couples like Denise and Ben grow in their understanding of human sexuality as it was created by God in the context of Holy Matrimony. While they may not be called to have more children at this time in their lives, they are still to be in complete union with one another as whole persons – never objectifying each other in order to simply satisfy physical desires. There is wisdom in what the Church teaches. Without the side effects of artificial contraception and sterilization…without the fear of having children often associated with barrier methods and withdrawal…our couples are able to fully participate in the marital embrace without sabotaging their health or their relationship as husband and wife.
As I witness the fruit of sacrificial love borne from the dynamic of NFP, I am honored to walk alongside such amazing men and women who push through the challenges and find joy in their vocation. Those who are willing to persevere through the program typically come out with a deeper sense of respect for their spouse, more effective communication, and a keener gauge of each other’s needs. It’s no wonder that the divorce rate for NFP-using couples is much lower than the general population.
The attendance at NFPinOC’s Clergy Day was fairly representative of our ethnic population, so we are currently trying to bring NFP services and information on NaProTECHNOLOGY to our Asian and Hispanic communities. In His time, the culture of life and love will flourish. As I said in the article, the best evangelizers, however, will be the parents who teach their children from the very beginning that this is good for their bodies and their souls. It’s now our job to tell the world what they have a right to know. Come Holy Spirit!