A diocesan NFP teacher’s primary role is to provide NFP instruction and follow-up to couples/clients. He or she conveys respect for each couple/client and promotes their autonomy in the use of NFP.
By integrating Catholic teaching on human sexuality, marriage, and family life into their instruction, a diocesan NFP teacher encourages couples/clients to grow in their marital relationship.
(Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry, Section II)
Diocesan NFP teachers are trained and certified in the method of their choice by a variety of NFP providers (see National NFP Providers). They therefore have NFP method-specific obligations. At the same time, they may have added layers of responsibilities and tasks when part of diocesan NFP ministry. This is because of the structure of diocesan ministries since all ministries and services exist in a diocese due to the will of the bishop.
In a diocese, the NFP coordinator is the bishop's designate for NFP ministry. When an NFP teacher becomes part of diocesan NFP ministry, he or she is then "accountable to" and works "in cooperation with the diocesan NFP coordinator" (see Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry, Section II). Given this structure, it is critical for new NFP teachers to meet with the diocesan NFP coordinator to discuss expectations, protocols, and NFP policies before beginning to teach their NFP method in the diocese. If the teacher decides not to be part of the team, a diocesan NFP coordinator can advise him/her about how to support each other. It is important to collaborate in order to spread the good news about NFP!
As representatives of different natural methods of family planning, NFP teachers have the responsibility to maintain their individual method certification. They may also have various responsibilities as members of their NFP national provider organization. As noted above, when part of diocesan NFP ministry, the NFP teacher will have diocesan responsibilities. In addition, some diocesan NFP programs have formally implemented the USCCB's Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry and therefore are required to invite their NFP teachers to apply for this ministerial certification. This certification is different from that of the method providers. It will ensure that the individual NFP teacher leads with Church teaching and is integrated into diocesan NFP ministry.
NFP teachers, whether providing NFP education in-person or virtually, are essential to diocesan NFP ministry. They are faithful Catholics who use and/or philosophically accept NFP and do not use or refer for contraception. Diocesan NFP teachers are among the most dedicated and professionally trained educators in a diocese. The bishops of the United States are indebted to their service!
Learn about NFP Teacher Training Programs in our Annotated Directory.
The resources on this page provide food for thought that hopefully, will inspire the NFP teacher. The USCCB either holds the copyright for some of these resources or has unlimited license to share them with you. You have our permission to use these resources in your NFP educational activities. Please cite the article in full and state the appropriate copyright information.
Please be advised that the content below represents the insights and perspective of the authors. Links to external websites when provided are for the user's convenience. Reference to these sites do not imply USCCB official endorsement.
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- A Couple's Witness NFP Forum, Diocesan Activity Report, (1997).
A wife shares her powerful story of the journey she and her husband took as children, spouses, and finally becoming willing to accept God into their marriage. An amazing witness!
- Natural Family Planning Is the Way to Go International Review of NFP, (1986).
Terence Cardinal Cooke.
At the First National Meeting of Diocesan Coordinators of Natural Family Planning, Cardinal Cooke speaks of the importance of this pastoral ministry. He highlights St. John Paul II's reasoning for inviting the Church to participate in NFP and references the benefits.
- "Talking the Talk" NFP Forum, Diocesan Activity Report (1996).
This article provides practical tips when presenting NFP information in both formal and informal settings.
- Teaching NFP is a True Mission, NFP Forum, Diocesan Activity Report, (1995).
St. John Paul II
The Holy Father challenges NFP teachers to extend their commitment beyond a mere scientific knowledge of a woman's fertility towards a more serious approach that values the gifts of life and love.
- Education Techniques and NFP Instruction NFP Forum, Diocesan Activity Report, (1994).
This article provides basic groundwork in learning techniques to help NFP teachers more effectively reach their adult audiences.
- Integration of Abstinence in NFP International Review of NFP, (1987).
Maureen Ball and Dorothy Scally
In her section of this article, Maureen Ball states that the married couple should integrate periodic sexual abstinence into their lives. Dorothy Scally adds that the job of the NFP instructor is to help couples view periodic sexual abstinence as built on positive values.
- The Joy of Abstinence? International Review of NFP, (1985).
Louis P. and Sue Ann La Barber
With years of experience as workshop leaders for teaching NFP, Louis and Sue Ann La Barber explain psychological and practical tips for teaching periodic abstinence. They explain that for NFP teachers, the student's perceived "problem" of periodic sexual abstinence can be addressed through simple communication techniques such as a change of phrase.
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