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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina
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072117 nfpsmWASHINGTON, D.C. – “It’s Time! Say ‘Yes’ to God’s Plan for Married Love” is the theme of this year’s Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, a national educational campaign of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to celebrate God’s design for married love and the gift of life and to raise awareness of Natural Family Planning methods.

“NFP,” as the U.S. bishops have written, is supportive of Catholic beliefs about married love because it “respects the God-given power to love a new human life into being.” This year’s theme invites a reflection on how “now” could be a very good and acceptable time to learn more about NFP and the Church’s beautiful teachings about marriage and God’s plan for married love. Echoing the words of Pope St. John Paul II: “The moment has come for every parish and every structure of consultation and assistance to the family and to the defense of life to have personnel available who can teach married couples how to use the natural methods. For this reason I particularly recommend that bishops, parish priests and those responsible for pastoral care welcome and promote this valuable service” (“Address to Teachers of Natural Family Planning,” Dec. 7, 1996).

The dates of Natural Family Planning Awareness Week (July 23-29) highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (July 25) which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. The dates also mark the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne (July 26), the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Natural Family Planning is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.

NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, it can enrich the bond between husband and wife.

Locally, the Diocese of Charlotte’s Natural Family Planning program director, Batrice Adcock, recently trained as an instructor with a new method of fertility awareness called FEMM (Fertility Education and Medical Management).

FEMM is a comprehensive women’s health program that teaches women to understand their bodies and how to recognize hormonal and other vital signs of health. FEMM provides support through its free FEMM Health App to track health and reproductive goals.

FEMM also has a strong program for teens that teaches and encourages healthy living. Adcock will be providing workshops around the diocese for teenaged girls and their parents.

She is also completing a certification program through the Theology of the Body Institute (www.tobinstitute.org) and aims to combine FEMM’s program for healthy living, which makes use of fertility awareness, with concepts of the feminine genius and Theology of the Body.

“Feminine genius” is a term attributed to St. John Paul II, who discussed it in depth in his 1988 apostolic letter “Mulieris Dignitatem” (“On the Dignity and Vocation of Women”).

For details, contact Batrice Adcock, MSN, Natural Family Planning Program Director for Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

— Catholic News Herald. USCCB contributed.

 

More online

At www.ccdoc.org/services/family-enrichment/natural-family-planning: Get information in English and Spanish about NFP, including a schedule of free, one-day NFP courses around the diocese; a list of NFP supportive physicians in North Carolina; and detailed information about various NFP methods and other basics.