The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched “Natural Family Planning Awareness Week” to promote Catholic teaching about human sexuality, marital love, and responsible parenthood as the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae approaches.
The Awareness Week lasts from July 20 to July 26, with its final two days falling on the fortieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, July 25, and the July 26 Feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim, the parents of the Virgin Mary.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) uses a variety of methods for married couples to determine the signs of a woman’s fertility to help conceive a child, or for serious reasons, to avoid a pregnancy, but still maintaining an openness to life.
A section dedicated to Natural Family Planning Awareness Week is published on the USCCB web site, presenting posters, articles, prayers and liturgies, couples’ stories, and relevant church teaching. This year’s NFP Awareness Week poster bears the motto “Freely, Totally, Faithfully.”
“The Church teaches that the sacrament of marriage symbolizes Christ’s relationship with His Church,” the site says in its prayers and liturgies section. “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.”
The site claims that couples who use NFP report better communication, deeper understanding of each other’s bodies, growth in respect for God’s gift of fertility and children, increased patience and maturity and growth in holiness.
The NFP Awareness Week site is located at http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/nfpweek/