priest-holding-wedding-band-montage

"...beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families—We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty...to spell out clearly and completely the Church's teaching on marriage" (Humanae vitae, 28).

Priests and deacons are on the "front line" in the Church helping the faithful understand God's plan for married love. Although no one expects clergy to become "certified NFP teachers," basic information on the science and methodology of NFP will help clergy in their pastoral efforts. In addition, study and reflection upon Catholic teaching regarding human sexuality, marriage, conjugal love, and responsible parenthood, will fortify the priest's and deacon's ability to help couples.

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Diocesan NFP Coordinators and Teachers
Are Ready to Assist!

Dear Priests and Deacons,

Your local diocesan NFP coordinators and teachers can help you in your ministry to engaged and married couples. These NFP experts can provide talks, recommend resources (including on-site and distance NFP method education), and meet with you to answer all your questions. Below are some strategies to consider as you build your NFP ministry tools in your parish.

  • Hold an NFP introduction training for your parish staff.
    Invite the diocesan NFP coordinator (or one of the diocesan NFP teachers) to meet with your parish ministry team. Have the NFP expert provide an introduction to the general science and methodology of NFP. And be sure to collaborate with the NFP coordinator by preparing to answer the tough theological questions that may arise (e.g., explain the difference between NFP and contraception, etc.). The NFP coordinator can handle all questions relating to NFP including the lived experience.
     
  • Stock your parish resource holders with appropriate NFP brochures and handouts.
    Know which NFP resources your diocesan NFP ministry provides and use them in your parish. Visit the USCCB's NFP resource page to see what is best for your parish (NB: check out the popular NFP Myth and Reality brochure!).
     
  • Request that the diocesan NFP coordinator speak about NFP ministry at your next deanery meeting.
    Sometimes we may forget that the diocesan chancery has staff ready to help--in other words, you do not have to reinvent NFP ministry! Ask that your diocesan NFP coordinator attend one of your deanery meetings to not only provide information about the services that are provided in the diocese but also to answer questions about NFP science and use in marriage.
     
  • Request that Church teaching on married love and the gift of life and NFP be included in the next clergy convocation.
    Consider asking for NFP experts to address the clergy at their next convocation. Ask for an NFP-only physician, NFP teacher, and NFP couple who can help clergy see the connections between the truth of Church teaching and the support of healthy science.
     
  • Get to know the USCCB's NFP Program's pages!
    Since you are here now, why not stay a while and see all that we have provided for you? See the menu in the middle of this page. Please know that the NFP Program staff can also recommend guest speakers and virtual resources to help you minister to engaged and married couples. Contact us at nfp@usccb.org; tel., 1-202-541-3240.

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The resources below are offered to assist priests and deacons in their ministry. Please be advised that the content provided represents the insights and perspective of the authors. Links to external websites when provided are for the user's convenience.

Want to request additional resources?

Would you like to send relevant articles, links to podcasts, or videos to us?

Please write to us at nfp@usccb.org.

 


Topics

Preaching on Human Sexuality, Marriage, and NFP

Bulletin Aides

Clergy Education Programs

 


Preaching on Human Sexuality,
Marriage, and NFP

The Sunday homily is the primary way most Catholics learn about the faith. When preaching on the subjects of human sexuality, marriage, and NFP in particular, it is important for priests and deacons to be mindful of the sensitive nature of the topics. For example, the homily is not the place where details of human fertility or NFP methodology are provided (have printed resources displayed in the vestibule for that!). Rather, homilies are where Catholic teaching on marriage, conjugal love, and responsible parenthood are covered and NFP information is included in a general and tactful style. Here we provide some written homily notes, videos, as well as audio files of clergy preaching on NFP.

Homily Notes

Below are some samples of homily notes written for the celebration of National NFP Awareness Week. Please take a moment to view what our authors have written:

  • 2022, July 24-30 , Perry J. Cahall, PhD, Pontifical College Josephinum
  • 2021, July 25-31 , Perry J. Cahall, PhD, Pontifical College Josephinum
  • 2020, July 19-25 , LMFLY Staff, assisted by Rev. Robert Cannon, Diocese of Venice
  • 2019, July 21-27, Rev. Paul C.B. Schenck, Diocese of Harrisburg
  • 2018, July 22-28, Most Rev. Peter Sartain, Archdiocese of Seattle
  • 2017, July 23-29, Rev. Joel Wilson, Diocese of Trenton
  • 2016, July 24-30, Rev. Samuel A. Martin, Diocese of La Crosse
  • 2015, July 19-25, Rev. Robert R. Cannon, Diocese of Venice
  • 2014, July 20-26, Rev. Benjamin P. Bradshaw, Diocese of Memphis
  • 2013, July 21-27, Rev. Albert J. Bruecken, OSB
  • 2012, July 22-28, Rev. Daniel J. Merz, Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • 2011, July 24-30, Rev. Leo A. Walsh, Archdiocese of Anchorage
  • 2010, July 25-31, Rev. John Gordon, Archdiocese of Newark
  • 2009, July19-25, Rev. David L. Toups, Diocese of St. Petersburg
  • 2008, July 20-26, Rev. Richard B. Hilgartner, Archdiocese of Baltimore
  • 2007, July 22-28, Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, Bishop of Knoxville

Additional Preaching Resources

  • NFP Outreach is a national Catholic organization that provides pastoral resources for NFP ministry (see www.nfpoutreach.org). Founder, Rev. Daniel McCaffrey, STD, is available to offer assistance to all clergy in integrating Church teaching and NFP general information in the Sunday homily. Homily samples are provided at https://www.nfpoutreach.org/homilies.
     
  • Videos

    Fr. Albert J. Bruecken, OSB, homily given on the first Sunday of National NFP Awareness Week, July 22, 2012, at the Basilica of St. John in the Diocese of Des Moines. In this homily Fr. Bruecken poses basic questions about the direction of the current culture in the wake of the sexual revolution. He asks whether the cultural changes regarding contraception are "helping or hindering" young men and women's ability to respect the dignity of themselves and one another. He contrasts the cultural emphasis on false independence with a true, mature, and interdependent existence with others. Father speaks about understanding freedom and sexuality in terms of making a sincere gift of self to others. (For a brief biography of Fr. Bruecken, see here.)
     
  • Audio
     
    • Rev. Jerome Cudden, OP, 45th Anniversary of Humanae vitae (National NFP Awareness Week, July 21-27, 2013). In this homily from the 2013 “Natural Family Planning Awareness Week” Sunday, Fr. Jerome Cudden, OP discusses American culture 45 years after Humanae Vitae and invites his congregation to reflect on the consequences or “prophecies” that Pope Paul VI warned could arise with the use of contraception.
       
  • Articles
     
    • Rev. Justin Braun, Diocese of Tyler, speaks about ministering to couples and evangelizing about Church teaching and NFP as well as including NFP in preaching in an interview on TotalWhine.com.

       

Clergy Education Programs

 

  • The Couple to Couple League has NFP resources for clergy. The most important is their free online clergy seminar. CCL also has a variety of easy to read brochures that discuss NFP science as well as the couple-relationship building benefits of the method. The brochures are suitable for both clergy and parishioners. Contact CCL at (800) 745-8252. 
     
  • NFP Outreach offers parish missions focused on God's gift of married love and Natural Family Planning. Founded by Fr. Daniel McCaffrey, NFP Outreach has a standardized format but will tailor the mission to the needs of a particular parish. Fr. Dan is assisted by Fr. Matthew Habiger, OSB and Deacon Rick Condon. In addition, Fr. Dan has several physicians who take part in the mission offering talks on NFP science and methodology.

    To view an inspiring discussion between the USCCB's assistant director, Theresa Notare, and Fr. Dan, see youtube.com/watch?v=afCTstUqS7g&t=423s.

 

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