Helping couples to deepen conjugal love and achieve responsible parenthood is part of the Church's total pastoral ministry to Catholic spouses...To help couples become proficient and secure in using NFP, dioceses must provide competent NFP services. (Introduction, Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry, Introduction)
The Standards for Diocesan Natural Family Planning Ministry (Standards) articulate the philosophy, basic structure, educational components, services, staff and volunteer professionalism that exists in diocesan NFP ministry. The Standards serve as a blueprint for diocesan program growth and activities.
In the United States, NFP ministry exists in many shapes and sizes. Some programs are well established and others are just beginning. The Standards are helpful for all types of diocesan NFP programs. Since the Standards identify the basic and essential elements for strong diocesan NFP ministry, they can be used as a development instrument for the diocesan NFP coordinator who is in the midst of building NFP ministry. For those diocesan NFP coordinators who already have a well-established NFP ministry, the Standards can be used as a "self-evaluation" tool assisting in the continued growth of the program.
Diocesan NFP ministry represents a unique blend of education in human fertility and Catholic teachings on human sexuality, marriage, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. Typically, diocesan NFP teachers represent a variety of NFP methods. Forming diverse NFP teachers into a ministerial team is part of the work of the Standards.
Within the complex national picture of diocesan NFP ministry, the Standards exist to ensure that the local Church leads with God's gifts of married love and the gift of life. It is important for the local Church to commit to this vital ministry since it strongly upholds God's plan for marriage and family.
Although the Standards can be used independently by individual diocesan NFP coordinators, it is recommended that application for Endorsement (the diocesan NFP program's award), be made to the USCCB NFP Program (see implementation process below). The formal application to implement the Standards can greatly assist the diocesan NFP coordinator's efforts in building NFP ministry by bringing into the development process third party reviewers.
The text of the Standards can be read in the following formats:
Diocesan NFP coordinators and directors of NFP teacher training programs are invited to read the Standards, review the implementation process and apply.
Diocesan NFP teachers can participate in the process through a diocesan NFP program that meets the Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry. The certification awarded through the diocese is a pastoral certification that creates a strong link between the teacher and the local diocesan NFP ministry. Teachers who apply to a diocese are expected to have a current NFP method certification from an approved NFP teacher training program.