“Christian life ultimately has its meaning in sacrifice – in making an offering of ourselves – totally giving ourselves in love. Because that’s the meaning of the life of Jesus Christ. And we can make that gift of love in all of our relationships, but you, husbands and wives, you are called to live that gift of self-offering and sacrifice in the most intimate bond of your marriage. And in that way, by making a gift, each to the other, you make a gift of yourselves to God.”
–Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, on the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae
What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a natural and open method of Fertility Awareness that allows husbands and wives to identify times of fertility and infertility in order to achieve or avoid pregnancy, while prayerfully discerning God’s will for their families. Couples can effectively achieve, postpone, or avoid pregnancy by learning to read different biological signs observed throughout a woman’s reproductive cycle. Single women, tweens, and teens can also benefit from learning to understand their reproductive cycles long before they discern marriage or start families.
NFP is one of many ways married couples live out their vocation as a communion of persons. It requires prayer, commitment, and sacrifice. Many couples find it challenging, but even more couples have heard very little about it, and dismiss it and choose contraception as their alternative. As we move into Families of Parishes, the vision for teaching Natural Family Planning is expanding to meet the needs of the changing Church. Rather than continue to teach a “once and done” class on NFP during marriage preparation, Families of Parishes have the opportunity to help individuals, families, and couples embrace a fuller vision of what it means to be a person, with a body and soul, in light of the Gospel. To learn more about how to promote NFP in Family Ministry, read Natural Family Planning in Families of Parishes.
Resources for Parish Leaders
For Priests, Deacons, and Lay Ministers looking for information on how to promote NFP in your parish, Family of Parishes, or marriage preparation program:
Archdiocese of Detroit NFP Homepage (aod.org/NFP): Information on different methods of NFP, register for a class, find a teacher, or browse Frequently Asked Questions.
The NFP Guide for Priests and Lay Ministers: An informational guide to talking with individuals and couples about Natural Family Planning, infertility, and pregnancy loss.
- Introduction to Natural Family Planning: A FREE online course about NFP, how it works, and how to choose a method that works best for you.
- Method Comparison Chart: A printable resource to help you compare different methods of NFP, effectiveness rates, and links to more information.
- Natural Family Planning in Real Life: Using NFP can be challenging. You’re not alone!
- El Regalo de la Planificación Natural de la Familia: Esta es la Buena Nueva: la PNF es un don de Dios, si se vive abierto a la Voluntad de Dios, y es para compartirlo.
- NFP and the Joyful Missionary Disciple: Listen to the Open Door Policy podcast with Laura Sparling, a Marquette Model NFP Teacher, as she discusses her faith, family, and NFP.
- Heroic Love and Family Planning: The Detroit Stories podcast talks with Sergio Lopez and Giovanni Vitale about the importance of getting Men involved in Natural Family Planning.
Resources for Natural Family Planning Instructors
For Natural Family Planning Instructors or anyone interested in training to teach NFP:
- Instructor Education Scholarships: The Archdiocese of Detroit offers scholarships to support the training of Natural Family Planning instructors in any method of NFP approved by the USCCB.
- NFP Student Scholarship Grants: The Archdiocese of Detroit offers annual grants to NFP teachers and teaching centers to support women and couples who cannot afford the cost of instruction.
- FACTS stands for Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science. This organization offers instruction on Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness for medical students and medical professionals and provides information on modern medical research and scientific studies related to NFP and Reproductive Health.
Holistic Sexuality Education
In the tradition of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, forming missionary disciples in the area of human sexuality is more than just the Catholic version of “sex education.” It’s about coming to understand what it means to be fully human, alive in Christ. Our vision for holistic sexuality education in the Archdiocese of Detroit is to provide formation at key life stages, centered around the challenges we often face in the areas of Catholic sexual teaching, and human, social, and emotional development.
|Life Stage||Formation||Suggested Materials, Activities, Events|
|Pre-K to Elementary||Boundaries, personal safety, proper anatomical terms for body parts||Circle of Grace, Think First & Stay Safe, REVEALED, Catechists Companion, LoveEd (Level 1)|
|Middle School||Physical and emotional development, social skills centered around human dignity, reproductive anatomy and physiology||Teen STAR, ROOTED, LoveEd (Level 2), Cultures of Dignity|
|High School||Reproductive anatomy and physiology, human sexuality, Catholic sexual teaching and morality, chastity, dating||Teen STAR, Called to Be More, YOU|
|Young Adult and Campus Ministry||Self-care, chastity and dating, discernment, fertility awareness, Catholic sexual teaching and morality||Chastity Project, Holistic Sexuality by Teen STAR, Natural Womanhood, Introduction to NFP Online Course|
|Marriage Preparation||Re-presentation of the Gospel, invitation to embrace Church teaching on marriage and family, shared responsibility in family planning, the physical and spiritual benefits of NFP||Bold Beginnings Marriage Preparation, Introduction to NFP Online Course, NFP Couple or Teacher Testimony|
|Marriage Ministry||Continued re-presentation of NFP as missionary discipleship; something couples may have dismissed in marriage prep but grow to be open to as they grow in faith together, health benefits of fertility awareness||Small Group study of Theology of the Body related text, Married Date Night, NFP Testimony or Info Session, Natural Womanhood, FACTS about Fertility, share NFP Resources below via social media, support women/couples interested in training to teach NFP|
|Marriage and Family Support||Support for couples and families in special circumstances: infertility, pregnancy/perinatal child loss, postpartum support, difficulty using NFP due to health concerns, spiritual, emotional, and practical support||Small groups, spiritual direction, referrals to experienced NFP teachers, referrals to NaProTECHNOLOGY physicians and other Catholic health professionals, referrals for NFP class scholarships|
Contact Family Support Ministry for more information.
Associate Director of Family Ministry
Support for NFP and Family Ministry