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Natural Family Planning

The Church teaches that the sacrament of marriage symbolizes Christ’s relationship with His Church. What is this relationship but one of generous, self-sacrificing passion-filled and fruitful love! When couples live their vocation according to Church teachings, especially with regard to the transmission of life, many benefits can be reaped. Indeed, married couples who use Natural Family Planning (NFP) report that the benefits include: better communication between spouses; deeper understanding of each other’s bodies and consequent growth in respect and awe of God’s gift of fertility; growth in patience and emotional maturity; growth in understanding of the supreme gift of children; and growth in holiness as they seek to place God as the head of the household. Download a brochure that explains Natural Family Planning.

Please visit the USCCB for a variety of supportive materials. Among the supportive materials are:

*Of note: with this year’s materials, there is an effort to include the Spanish translations of the “Prayers of the Faithful” and the “Couples’ Stories.”  All the translations can be found on the website. For further information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies.  These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle.

NFP is not “Rhythm.”  The Rhythm (or Calendar) method was developed in the 1930s.  It was based on the scientific theory that ovulation could be predicted by calculating previous menstrual cycles.  This method was often inaccurate because it did not take account of the unique nature of a woman's menstrual cycle.  Today’s methods of NFP do take account of such variations.  Based on observable signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle, NFP methods track the changes associated with ovulation and not only treat each woman as unique, but each cycle as well.  The accuracy of women’s observations has been validated by scientific research.*

In the Diocese of Orlando, we teach and promote the Sympto-Thermal Method and have classes in several different deaneries. (See Classes)  Other methods are available and additional information can be found on this web site. 

NFP is a holistic approach to family planning. Both husband and wife understand their fertility, emotions, and family planning intention (whether to have a baby or not).  Its successful use to avoid pregnancy relies upon a couple’s following what they know about the method and one another.  Successful use of NFP requires a couple to communicate. In the daily charting of their fertility signs, couples quickly appreciate their shared responsibility for family planning. Husbands are encouraged to “tune into” their wives’ cycles, and both spouses are encouraged to speak openly to each other about their sexual desires and their ideas on family size. 

Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact when the woman is fertile and can conceive. The total days of abstinence will vary from couple to couple and even from cycle to cycle. Whatever the length of the fertile phase, no barriers or chemicals are used at any time to avoid pregnancy. To achieve pregnancy couples have intercourse during the fertile time of the cycle. 

NFP is not a contraceptive. It does nothing to suppress or block conception. Instead, couples adjust their behavior according to their family planning intention using the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of a woman's cycle. NFP information respects human nature as God designed it.

NFP promotes openness to the transmission of human life and recognizes the value of children. Sexual relations are understood as love-giving as well as life-giving. It is true family planning. Because NFP respects the two-fold nature of sexual intercourse, it can enrich the bond between husband and wife. Indeed, it can be said that NFP promotes the understanding of “self donation” between spouses. For these reasons it is an acceptable form of family planning for people of various religious and philosophical beliefs. 

Barbara and Greg Nelsen are certified teachers and speak regularly at our Pre Cana classes throughout the diocese.  For further information about these classes please call 407-260-8679.

*See Richard Fehring, DNSc, RN & Robert Kambic, MSH, Natural Family Planning Bibliography.  (Washington, DC: Diocesan Development Program for NFP, 1995) available here.


NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING CLASSES

Natural Family Planning classes are held throughout the diocese. Below is a list of upcoming dates for these programs and instructor contact numbers for information on NFP or to register for a class,

Orange and Seminole County: For Dates and to register, please contact Barbara & Greg Nelsen (407) 260-8679
Classes held at St. Mary Magdalen, Altamonte Springs, FL Workshops begin at 7:00 p.m. on all dates.

Marion County: For Dates and to register, please contact John & Rhoda Podlaski (352) 867-1015
Classes held at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, Ocala. Workshops begin at 7:00 p.m. on all dates.

Brevard County: For Dates and to register, please contact Patrick & Honor Murphy (321) 723-7488
Classes held at Holy Name of Jesus in Indialantic, Workshops begin at 6:30 p.m. on all dates.


METHODS

 

Methods

Family Life
Promotions
(Sympto-Thermal
Method)

Creighton
Fertility
Care
System

Couple
to
Couple
League

Billings
Ovulation
Method

Northwest
Family
Services

Cost

$35 for supplies
and classes

$200
Materials
&
8 Private
Sessions

$75 for
4 Sessions

Up to
$200

$66.50 for
On-Line
Course

Indexes
Utilized

Cervical changes
Muscus and
BB Temp.

Cervical
Mucus

Cervical changes
Muscus and
BB Temp.

Cervical
Mucus

Cervical
Muscus,
BB Temp.
(Cervical change optionl)

Primary
Features

Pre-scheduled
group

       

Type of
Instruction

Full course is
two classes,
5 weeks apart

Individual
&
Group

 

Individual
&
Group

On-Line

Contact

Barb & Greg Nelson
407-260-8679

321-442-1214

www.ccli.org

407-343-1711 

www.nwfs.org

 


NFP, Theology of the Body, and Our Marriage - By Michael and Alysha Chambers
Many will tell you that the responsibility of being permanently faithful to one person is too great and that being open to life is too much of a burden. They say contraception brings with it freedom and life; however, we have found that it is in openness to God, to each other, and to new life that true freedom is obtained. This is what living Natural Family Planning (NFP) can help couples to experience.

Alysha was in college when she first heard NFP mentioned. All she knew then was that it existed and the Catholic Church considered it a good thing. Michael, a convert to Catholicism, grew up believing that contraception was good and that all couples should use it. Our first real understanding of what NFP is, and what the Church teaches came during our marriage preparation program. We learned that NFP at its core is simply knowledge of the physical changes one can observe in the woman's fertility cycle. It gives couples a way to measure and chart their fertility signs. We also learned how responsible parenthood is the virtuous application of this fertility knowledge.

One unexpected aspect of NFP that impressed us was how it fosters communication between spouses. Couples practicing NFP discuss the future of their family with every cycle. Knowing how to discuss such important matters has proven a great blessing to many marriages. Michael decided that blessing, by itself, was enough of a reason to learn NFP.

Another theme we discussed in marriage preparation was the Theology of the Body. It helped us understand who we are and how God created us. It is through our bodies that we express who we are spiritually. Also, because we were made in the image and likeness of God, our bodies are supposed to reflect who God is which means we are to act as He acts. How does God act? He loves. God's love is a total gift of self. God's love is life-giving. As husband and wife one way we love like God is through our sexuality. If NFP is studied in this context, our appreciation of each other as man and woman increases because the uniqueness and dignity that God has imprinted in our bodies is revealed. It was at this point that Michael realized NFP was not moral birth control; rather, it is a complete way of life honoring one's spouse's sexuality and fertility. It is loving naturally – the way God designed it.In studying NFP in the context of the Theology of the Body, both of us have become more open to each other, to God, and to children. We truly believe that "children are the crown of marriage" and we pray that God will bless us with children some day. Until then, we will "make our plans but hold them lightly." For us, that means planning to use NFP both when we are attempting or delaying pregnancy, all the while striving to hear and do God's will!

Michael and Alysha Chambers, Diocese of Arlington, Va., were married September 24, 2005. This article first appeared in the Couple to Couple League's Family Foundations (Jan/Feb. 2006). It has been edited to fit this publication and is printed with permission.

Contact Us  

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1800
Orlando, Florida
32802-1800

Physical Address:
50 East Robinson
Orlando, Florida
32801

Telephone:
407-246-4800

Fax:
407-246-4942

E-mail:
info@orlandodiocese.org

 

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