It is never too soon to plan your celebration of National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week!
All activities, either grand or humble, are typically designed and staffed by core groups of local NFP promoters. These promoters are often a diverse group of people. They may include diocesan NFP ministry staff, local NFP teachers, national NFP providers, physicians, nurses, clergy and religious, university professors, or concerned parish leaders. Whoever works with you to make this year's celebration a success, be sure to take a look at the following ideas before you begin your work.
The suggestions below are based on real activities of how NFP Awareness Week is celebrated in dioceses all over the country. Over the years, these activities have been reported to us by people like you. A special "thanks" is extended to the diocesan NFP coordinators and teachers who have let us know about their activities. Once your plans are complete, please remember to tell us how you are celebrating this year. Send your announcements to: email@example.com. We will share all your good ideas!
SPREAD THE WORD IN THE DIOCESE AND THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
Meet with key diocesan staff to plan a communications campaign.
Schedule a meeting with the diocesan director of communications to discuss how best to use both the diocesan and secular media to spread the word about NFP and Catholic teachings which support their use in marriage.
Be sure to meet with the editor of the diocesan newspaper to plan a strategy of educational articles and announcements that can run prior to and during National NFP Awareness Week. (Of note: make sure to contact these offices well in advance, for example, three months before your diocesan celebration of NFP Week .)
Whatever the plan, in your announcements and articles always include information on where couples can take local NFP classes or even participate in distance learning (see our Distance Learning page for NFP providers who offer home study).
Use a variety of media to spread the word.
From diocesan and local newspapers to parish bulletins, from diocesan websites to Facebook and Twitter, think about the audience you want to reach and use the media that they are using!
Don't forget such media like electronic billboards and Public Service Announcements via radio. Your diocesan communications director will know how to access that media.
(See our Media Kit for helpful resources.)
Mail the NFP Poster and announcements with resources to leaders in the diocese.
Contact the appropriate diocesan offices (e.g., Office of Clergy, Marriage and Family Life, Evangelization and Catechesis, etc.) to request that diocesan-wide communications with resources (such as the NFP poster) be sent to clergy, pastors and other diocesan leaders.
Obtain lists and mail your announcements and resources to the directors of education in the Catholic hospitals and campus ministry centers in the universities in your area.
Don't have budget funds? Ask your local Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society, or other Catholic groups to help raise money for this simple activity.
Use your diocesan website.
Post an announcement about National NFP Awareness Week on the homepage of your diocesan website. Direct visitors to the diocesan marriage ministry section of the website. Be sure to link to the USCCB's NFP website and other national NFP providers.
Send press releases to local papers.
Send out a press release to your local newspapers as well as the diocesan newspaper (see sample here, courtesy of the Diocese of Columbus).
Can't seem to get started? Edit our generic press releases to provide your local information.
Be a presence in the parish
Display this year's NFP poster and other educational materials in your parish.
Include National NFP Awareness Week announcements in parish bulletins (see sample here, courtesy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore).
Use the USCCB NFP Bulletin Briefs to enhance parish bulletins.
Meet with local pastors to schedule NFP couples or teachers to provide brief talks at the end of the Sunday Mass that launches National NFP Awareness Week.
Alert all your priests to use the Homily Notes and Prayers of the Faithful for Mass during National NFP Awareness Week.
Plan a celebratory Mass in your local parish. (Of note: be sure to meet with your pastor well in advance, for example, three months prior to NFP Week.)
If you are the diocesan NFP coordinator, contact the rector of the Cathedral (at least 6 months in advance) or the pastor of a large parish to plan a diocesan-wide Mass.
Plan a special Mass of thanksgiving for your NFP teachers and couples.
- Eucharistic Adoration
Take all of your petitions to Christ in the Eucharist!
Plan an evening (morning or afternoon) of Eucharistic Adoration in a parish, a retreat center, or the diocesan Cathedral.
Consider using meditative readings from Blessed John Paul II (e.g., Familiaris Consortio or Theology of the Body) and Catholic Teachings to design your time of Adoration.
Make sure Confession is available.
- The Rosary
Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary that married couples may live God's design for life and love!
Encourage group Rosaries for specific marriage-NFP building intentions.
Consider obtaining pledges from individuals throughout the diocese who will pray the Rosary for specific intentions of the diocesan NFP ministry team.
Plan a special Rosary for your NFP teachers during National NFP Awareness Week.
Plan a special Rosary for NFP families. Have the children participate!
Novenas are wonderful prayers that focus the mind and heart on particular intentions for nine days. There are many novenas that can be used to focus prayer on the strengthening of marriage and NFP ministry.
Encourage individual and group recitation of a novena for special marriage and NFP intentions.
Consider urging your NFP teachers to take up a novena for intentions you all agree on.
Use the USCCB's novenas to Saints Anne and Joachim as well as to the Blessed Mother under the Feast of the Annunciation for your Marriage and NFP intentions.
Both novenas are available in print from the USCCB Respect Life Catalog.
To order, call toll-free, 1-866-582-0943
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the novena to Saints Anne and Joachim,
ask for item #0422 (English) and #0423 (Spanish).
For the Annunciation novena, ask for item #0726
(Spanish available on the web only).
Consider hosting a day long, half-day or evening retreat for engaged and married couples.
If you wish to attract families, plan activities for children and youth.
Plan a retreat for young adults about "marriage readiness" that helps them reflect on the sacrament of marriage, the virtue of chastity and the life-respecting methods of NFP.
Include NFP couple witness talks and inspiring presentations by health care professionals on the science and benefits of NFP for married couples (see for example the Diocese of Charleston: http://www.themiscellany.org/index.php/news/4071-nfp-retreat-set-for-april-28).
- NFP Introductions
Introductory sessions on the science and ethics of NFP are easy to provide for a wide-range of audiences. One or two people competent in the science and methodology of NFP as well as Catholic teaching which supports their use in marriage is all you need. Add an NFP witness couple and the circle is completed! In fact, many NFP teachers and their spouses are able and willing to provide such content!
Schedule NFP Introductions at local parishes, in Catholic hospitals, at the diocesan pastoral center, or Catholic universities.
Meet with a popular Catholic physician to collaborate on providing an NFP Introduction to his colleagues and staff.
Contact local schools of nursing to plan an NFP Introduction for students.
- NFP Parish Missions
An NFP Parish Mission is a unique spiritual event. It combines education, catechesis, prayer and the celebration of the sacraments (the Eucharist and Reconciliation). It not only requires speakers competent in NFP science and ethics, but also a priest to address the spiritual reality of married love and the gift of life as well as to celebrate the sacraments.
Meet with your pastor to ask him to consider hosting an NFP Parish Mission.
To plan a parish mission, your local diocesan NFP coordinator or director of marriage ministry will know which priests can help to design a mission just for your parish. If you are the diocesan NFP coordinator, contact several pastors to request that NFP missions be held in their parishes. Be prepared to help fund the mission.
Some Catholic special ministries groups, such as NFP Outreach or national NFP providers, can be invited in to provide an NFP parish mission.
Contact the USCCB's NFP Program for assistance in designing an NFP parish mission (1-202-541-3240; email@example.com).
- Guest Speakers
Invite a nationally known NFP expert to speak in your diocese.
Utilize your best NFP teachers to give talks around the diocese.
Identify diocesan experts among the clergy, health care providers, teachers or NFP couples to give special lectures.
- Local NFP conference or seminar
Plan an NFP continuing education seminar for diocesan leaders including, NFP teachers, NFP promoters, marriage preparation ministers, parish respect life leaders, directors of religious education, youth and young adult ministers.
Collaborate with another diocesan office or Catholic group (e.g., local chapter of the Catholic Medical Association, etc.) to design a conference for the Catholic faithful.
Design an NFP science and ethics seminar just for health care professionals.
Arrange a meeting with the director of education in your local Catholic hospital to offer a brief NFP seminar for physicians and nurses within their work day.
Ask the hospital's ministry or education director if you can display this year's NFP poster with other NFP educational resources. Include the presence of an NFP teacher who can be on hand to answer questions at the display.
Work with the proper authorities to establish NFP classes in the Catholic hospital.
- Host a "Celebrate NFP" picnic or "family fun day" in your parish or at a diocesan retreat center.
- Host an appreciation dinner for NFP teachers and promoters.
Return to NFP Week Homepage.