Diocesan Plan for Natural Family Planning Program Development
This 1981 document is the foundational Catholic pastoral plan for diocesan NFP ministry in the United States.

Dr. Mary Catherine Martin, PhD, RN, an NFP pioneer, conducted extensive research (including interviews, surveys and on-site pastoral visits) to gain a thorough understanding of NFP services in the dioceses of the United States in the late 1970s. Dr. Martin's original study was further developed by the founders of the U.S. bishops' NFP program (in 1980) and by members of the Board of Directors of the Human Life and NFP Foundation (originally funded by the U. S. bishops just before the promulgation of the papal encyclical, Humanae vitae). It was refined by the U. S. bishops' Committee for Pro-Life Activities and accepted by them as their NFP diocesan pastoral plan. It served as a strong source of pastoral planning until 1990 when the Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry were published. 

Report: Requiring a Full Course of Natural Family Planning Instruction in Marriage Preparation
This report provides a summary of how several dioceses created a strategy to implement the requirement of NFP education as part of marriage preparation. The lessons learned by these diocesan NFP coordinators are useful for others who are faced with a similar task.

  • Update: 2008-2014 This report takes up where the above report ends. It provides information on the topic of requiring NFP education in marriage preparation from nine dioceses.
  • 2016 Diocese of Wichita Requires NFP Education in Marriage Preparation This brief article describes the process that was used to design and implement the requirement of a course of a method of NFP in marriage preparation in the Diocese of Wichita.
  • An example of requiring NFP education in marriage preparation can be viewed at the Diocese of Phoenix's website:
    • Vision and Teaching Vision and Teaching (2009) of the Diocese of Phoenix's NFP education and marriage preparation policy by Bishop Thomas Olmsted.
    • Marriage Preparation Policy (2009).
    • NFP: Ready Now. an implementation plan for adding a Natural Family Planning requirement to marriage preparation (2009) by Cindy Leonard (2009). Mrs. Leonard was the diocesan NFP coordinator who assisted Bishop Olmsted in creating the NFP and marriage preparation policy.
    • "Find us Ready," website page provides the overview of resources to implement the diocesan marriage preparation and NFP education policy (Note: some parts of this page are original to 2009).
    • "Covenant of Love" website page (2020) on marriage preparation and NFP education that highlights a unified approach to this pastoral education.

Requiring NFP Education in Marriage Preparation

After reading the above report, it is useful (and inspiring!) to hear from the diocesan staff who have participated in the development and implementation of a strategy for requiring NFP education in marriage preparation programs. This three hour audio presentation is from the 2013 annual conference of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM).

The panel begins with a discussion on the canonical aspects of marriage preparation (45 minutes). The discussion then turns to how the requirement of NFP education was created and implemented in two different dioceses. The panel concludes with a dialogue between the panelists and participants. The participants included diocesan marriage and family life directors as well as diocesan NFP coordinators.

Panelists: Rev. Robert R. Cannon, MA, MEd, MTh, JCL, Diocese of Venice; Cindy Leonard, NFP Coordinator, Diocese of Phoenix; and Rachelle Sauvageau, Diocese of Fargo.
The MC is Theresa Notare, PhD, Assistant Director, NFP Program, Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, USCCB.

Note: this audio file is here for your use with the permission of Catholic Seminars. If you would like to purchase this file and view other files available from the 2013 NACFLM conference, contact: www.catholicseminars.com.

Not ready to implement an NFP class requirement for marriage preparation? Read about this simple strategy to increase NFP class attendance through your marriage preparation programs.

NFP E-Distance Learning: What it is, How it Works

Diocesan NFP coordinators are often confronted with the challenge of recruiting enough NFP teachers to schedule an appropriate number of classes throughout their dioceses. Many wonder if NFP e-education can help them get the NFP message out to married couples. This three hour audio presentation provides answers to their questions. It treats the topic of NFP e-learning for couples/clients. It too is from the 2013 annual conference of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (NACFLM).

Each NFP provider discuss the format of his/her on-line education and how couples respond to it. Questions from the audience are also included.

Panelists: Maria Garcia, NFP coordinator, Archdiocese of Chicago (e-introduction to NFP and the Billings Method); Michael Manhart, Ph.D., Executive Director, Couple to Couple League International (STM); Richard Fehring, Ph.D., RN, Director, NFP Institute, Marquette University, College of Nursing (Marquette Method, Sympto-Hormonal); Jessica Schaefer, Sympto-Pro Fertility Education Instructor, Northwest Family Services (STM). The MC is Theresa Notare, Ph.D., Assistant Director, NFP Program, Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, USCCB.

Note: this audio file is here for your use with the permission of Catholic Seminars. If you would like to purchase this file and view other files available from the 2013 NACFLM conference, contact: www.catholicseminars.com.

Issues in NFP Programming

  • Legal Issues in NFP by Thomas J. Prebil 
    In this classic article from the out of print publication, The International Review of NFP, attorney, Thomas Prebil directly addresses significant legal concerns, such as the crucial steps to take in order to avoid a lawsuit, and the necessary action of an NFP teacher, should a lawsuit arise. He stresses the importance of NFP instructors taking detailed records and a personalized, professional relationship with every client.