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Natural Family Planning

 

God designed marriage as an "intimate partnership of life and love" (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). In God's design, marriage is a unique union of one man with one woman "for the whole of life" (see Canon 1055, The Code of Canon Law). Marriage is oriented to the good of the spouses and to the creation and nurture of new human life (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). Making decisions therefore, about when and how many children to have in marriage is a sacred responsibility that God has entrusted to husband and wife. This is the foundation of what the Church calls, "Responsible Parenthood"--the call to discern God's will for your marriage while respecting His design for life and love. 

The Catholic Church supports the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) because they respect God's design for married love. In fact, NFP represents the only authentic approach to family planning available to husbands and wives because these methods can be used to both attempt or avoid pregnancy. When learning about NFP, it is important to know that: 

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, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.                                          (Standards for Diocesan Natural Family Planning Ministry, p. 23)

This section of the USCCB website provides information and resources that will help you to learn about the methods of Natural Family Planning and Catholic teaching which supports its use in marriage. Many of the resources here are tailored for diocesan NFP coordinators, teachers and educators.

NFP Site Map
This link provides a listing of the content subjects provided in this section.

Young family in the yard.Announcements

  • July 25, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae vitae. A number of activities are currently being planned by various groups (one is listed in the "Events" box below). If you are planning a celebration in your diocese, please let us know (write nfp@usccb.org). We will post all activities on a new Humanae vitae page in the near future.

  • 2017 National NFP Awareness Week was celebrated on July 23-29. The 2017 year's slogan It's time! Say "Yes" to God's plan for Marriage! Natural Family Planning focuses on God's gift of the nature of marriage to husband and wife. Please let us know how you celebrated NFP Week in your diocese (send us a description with your name and diocese to nfp@usccb.org).

    Remember, promoting Church teaching on married love and NFP is a "year round" activity. You can continue to display the poster in your parish, office, or classroom. To order the 2017 poster contact customerservice@ifcweb.com; tel., 1-866-582-0943. Ask for publication #1722 (folded or flat).

  • On September 20, 2016, a group of scholars led by Janet Smith, PhD (Sacred Heart Seminary, Archdiocese of Detroit) issued a public statement in support of Catholic teaching on married love and the gift of life. Watch the Sept. 20 press conference about the statement live-streamed from Catholic University in DC. Furthermore, if you have an advanced degree (Masters or higher) and would like to add your name to the statement, please feel free to do so (at the top right corner of the statement's webpage).

  • Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) treats marriage and family life; see Amoris Laetitia.

  • Important brief catechetical USCCB NFP resources: a four panel brochure (front and back) treating the Church's teaching on married love, responsible parenthood, and the methods of NFP as viewed through the lens of love, mercy, and life is available for purchase (Tel. 1-866-582-0943; or write customerservice@ifcweb.com). To read the text, see the Responsible Parenthood page. A free two-page bulletin insert is also available on the same page.

  • Past National NFP Awareness Week Posters. Remember that many of the past NFP posters can be used in your ongoing educational efforts since they do not include the dates of the year in which they were produced. See past posters. To order posters call toll-free: 1-866-582-0943 or write customerservice@ifcweb.com.
  • Please visit our education page for healthcare professionals! Remember that we have links and files of resources that can save you time and energy. We have a link to the MP4 files on an introduction to the science and methodology of NFP available from FACTS (Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science). These files provide a general overview of all NFP methods offered in the USA. In addition, PowerPoint slides with notes on the general science of NFP are available from Marquette University's NFP Institute. They have graciously donated them to us for your educational efforts!
    See: NFP Education for Healthcare Professionals

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Events

  • 2018 April 4-6, Humanae vitae, a 50th Anniversary Symposium at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. Entitled, "Embracing God's Vision for Marriage, Love, and Life," this academic symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of the papal encyclical, Humanae vitae is co-sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth and The Catholic University of America's School of Theology and Religious Studies with other Catholic institutions of higher learning. The symposium will be held in our nation's capital at Catholic University. The program will focus on major themes of Humanae vitae seeing that the foundation of all human relationships are in Christ's work of redemption which has restored and made new God's original plan for the human person, human sexuality, and marriage, offering light and healing to all. Among the speakers are Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, Janet Smith, PhD, Mary Eberstadt, Helen Alvare, JD, and Teresa Collett, JD. To register visit http://cuatoday.com/hv2018. Questions? Call 202-541-3240 or write nfp@usccb.org.
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Resources

  • The NFP video series, "Marital Love and Responsible Parenthood" by Goya Productions is available in English and in Spanish at www.loveandparenthood.com. More...

  • Ruah Woods is offering freshman and sophomore lessons of "Called to Be More." Learn about them here!

  • Goya Producciones created a series on Natural Family Planning which they filmed, in part, at the 2015 World Congress on NFP in Milan, Italy. Various NFP leaders from the United States are featured in the series including former executive director of the Couple to Couple League, Mike Manhart, PhD, well-known NFP researcher, Joe Stanford, MD (Utah),and Theresa Notare, PhD, Assistant Director, USCCB's NFP Program. The series is available in English and Spanish. To view a nine-minute trailer or order the series see, www.loveandparenthood.com.

  • Couple to Couple League has a self-paced online NFP class and revised course offering. The self-paced online class is designed for today's busy couple. The same material that is presented in CCL live classes is delivered in a series of videos and interactive learning modules. To learn more, contact: CCL, Tel., 1-800-745-8252; Email, info@ccli.org; Web. www.ccli.org.

  • The Diocese of Richmond (VA) has available a marriage preparation program which integrates NFP information with Church teaching. Entitled, "Unveiled," this innovative program provides a consistent catechetical format for marriage preparation. "Unveiled" ensures the integrity of content through a series of videos and workbooks for both facilitators and couples. To find out more, contact: Center for Marriage, Family, and Life, Diocese of Richmond; Tel., 804-622-5109; Web, www.unveiledmarriage.com.

  • Annunciation Ministries--Evangelization Through Marriage is a pastoral service that provides general consultation to diocesan or parish staff to establish or revitalize their marriage preparation programs. Annunciation Ministries also offers help in establishing NFP programs in the parish or diocese. Contact: Kari Colella, Executive Director, Tel, 781-708-3676; kari@annunciationministries.com; Web, www.AnnunciationMinistries.com.

  • One More Soul: Can't find the right NFP brochure that you would like to use for a marriage preparation class? Remember that One More Soul (OMS) carries NFP and marriage ministry resources that are published not only by OMS but also by a variety of Catholic leaders and organizations . Please visit their website to view the resources, www.omsoul.com.
  • Contraception: The Real Story is a resource from the St. Augustine Foundation to help you with your educational efforts in defense of God's vision of human sexuality, marriage, conjugal love and responsible parenthood and the virtue of chastity. View at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL67kelLVRuQGryssCNQ4QKuxHwZi_qYr0. This sixteen-part video educational resource is helpful for parents, diocesan staff (e.g., Marriage and Family Life, NFP, Pro-Life Activities, and Youth Ministry), teachers, Catholic physicians, and parents. Developed by the staff of the St. Augustine Foundation (SAF), the text was written in consultation with a variety of national NFP educators and physicians. The SAF series provides: a summary of key Catholic teaching on marriage, conjugal love and responsible parenthood; an overview of human reproduction; a summary of the facts about various artificial contraceptives and their many negative side effects; and a discussion on the virtue of chastity. The resource is also available in a PowerPoint presentation. Video, script, and graphics are available free of charge to diocesan staff. For more information, contact: John E. Fitzgerald, Director, The St. Augustine Foundation; 914-613-5510; jefitzgerald@jefitzgerald.net.

  • FACTS website-www.factsaboutfertility.org. Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Sicence (FACTS), is comprised of NFP physicians, leaders and educators. Their mission is to educate healthcare professionals, especially physicians, on the science and methods of NFP.

  • The St. Augustine Foundation has a website to help you educate on NFP and Catholic teaching on human sexuality, the virtue of chastity, marriage, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. A special feature are brief courses tailored to young adults. Also included is a video of interviews with Catholic physicians. See catholicsexuality.com.
  • Need NFP resources to give to your parish priest? See the "Clergy Packet" published by the Couple to Couple League.

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Mission of the USCCB Natural Family Planning Program

Helping couples to deepen conjugal love and achieve responsible parenthood is part of the Church's total pastoral ministry to Catholic spouses. Fulfillment of this ministry includes both education and pastoral care. This means "instilling conviction and offering practical help to those who wish to live out their parenthood in a truly responsible way" (Familiaris consortio, #35).


Permission is granted for copying and reprinting the NFP information on this website. Please cite the source of the information and unless otherwise noted, please include the following text: "Used with permission from the NFP Program, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved."

Contact Information:

Natural Family Planning Program
Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life & Youth
3211 4th Street NE
Washington, DC 20017

Email: nfp@usccb.org
Telephone: (202) 541-3240



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