Fall 2009 The newsletter of the Philadelphia Natural Family Planning Network (PNFPN) The Importance of Teaching NFP by Tara Plymouth There is currently a shortage of NFP teachers. At sions about family size). Additionally, it shows couples the Family Life Office, we only have seven ac- that there is a morally legitimate, effective method of tive NFP-teaching couples. We could use many spacing children available. Many couples do not know more (including Spanish-speaking teachers), especially this, and do not comprehend the basic moral and an- in Chester County and Philadelphia County. Today, thropological differences between NFP and artificial there are more reasons than ever to teach people about birth control. They have been exposed to our culture’s NFP. A 2002 survey found that the most common view of family planning, which is that the pill, steriliza- “method” of family planning in the U.S. among all tion, and other methods of artificial birth control are women (including Catholics) is sterilization (male and the only valid methods. The current medical establish- female combined), followed by the pill, and the male ment backs these beliefs up; it is largely influenced by condom.1 These findings should strongly motivate us drug companies who have a lot of money to make from to communicate to people the Church’s teachings on contraceptives. The more people learn about NFP and human sexuality, which are central to teaching NFP.
its benefits, and about the beauty and respectful nature Think about it—teaching NFP is not just about of the Church’s teaching on human sexuality, the less promotion of NFP. It is also an explanation of the they will opt for contraception and sterilization. In Church’s teachings on human sexuality and respon- turn, there will be fewer families detrimentally affected sible parenthood (which makes God central to deci- Letter from the PresidentDear NFP Supporters: However, with these attacks come a greater need I hope you all are having a good summer. Ecclesi- to evangelize. Part of that evangelization is to spread astes tells us that “there is a time for everything.” And the good news of Natural Family Planning, many facets now is the time to promote NFP. There is, in fact, nev- of which support stronger families, less divorce, more er a bad time. We need to promote the teachings of the children, responsible parenthood, less abortions, no Church at ALL times, but especially when we are being medical complications with taking medications or hav- There are many things that have transpired over the PNFPN is trying to be at the forefront of that evan- past nine months that represent attacks on our faith. We gelization in Philadelphia. We have an annual confer- have attempts to redefine marriage; we have attempts to ence to discuss these issues. Please consider support legalize all drugs, including cocaine and heroin; we have through prayer; through attending our events; through passed laws that financially support abortion both here contacting us with your thoughts and ideas on articles and internationally; we have constant attacks on the or conference topics; through visiting our website; and family, and especially the most vulnerable, our children through your financial support via donations or paying and our aged. We now are debating health care reform dues if you receive this newsletter. Please support mar- and what, if any, role the government should play in riage and family and life-affirming health care. Please making health care decisions. Should we have national support Natural Family Planning. And remember to health care? Should that health care plan support abor- encourage your priests and deacons to give a homily on tion? Should expensive health care be somehow with- this topic on Respect Life Weekend October 3-4. held or restricted for those with chronic illness and age infirmities? Of course, this is not a political organiza- tion and you can come to your own conclusions.
NFP Classes and Introductory Sessions PNFPN Officers
Free introductory sessions of the Creighton Model FertilityCareTM System will be held at 800 Manor Drive. Contact Liz Parrish, RN, CFCP, at (215) 249-9829 for more information and registration. PNFPN Board Members
Planning class by the Couple to Couple League Vince Bodnar • Michael Castagno • Kelly Cole will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Barry Brown Health Rev. John Gabin • Sr. Sheila Galligan, IHM Education Center. This is a series of three classes spaced about one month apart. For directions and registration, e-mail [email protected] or call (856) 583-6120.
Life Cycles Staff
Editors • George Finnin & James Volpe The Philadelphia Family Life Office will sponsor a class in the Sympto-Thermal method of Natu- ral Family Planning at St. Margaret Church, 208 North Narberth Avenue. For more information Articles may be submitted to George Finnin: or registration, please call (215) 587-5639.
The Philadelphia Family Life Office will sponsor a class in the Sympto-Thermal method of Natural Family Planning at St. Alice Church, 129 Cop-ley Street. For more information or registration In the past, the PNFPN existed solely through the gen- please call (215) 587-5639.
erosity of a few people and never asked its members to pay dues. While we continue to believe that news and information regarding NFP in the Philadelphia region Free introductory sessions of the Creighton Model should remain free, our promotional efforts are severely FertilityCareTM System will be held at 6:30 p.m. at limited without a source of income. Thus, we are asking Saints Philip and James Church, 107 North Ship our members to consider a yearly donation to assist our Road. Contact Helen LaFrance, FCP, at (610) 436- efforts in spreading the good news of NFP. We request 8323 for more information and registration. $15 for an individual membership, $25 for a couple, and $10 for a student. Free copies of Life Cycles will still be distributed to everyone on the mailing list, but those who donate will be eligible to vote for the execu- The Philadelphia Family Life Office will sponsor tive board members each year. To make a much appreci- a class in the Sympto-Thermal Method of Natural ated contribution, please send your name, address, and Family Planning at the Holy Redeemer Provincial- phone number with a check payable to PNFPN to P.O. ate House, 521 Moredon Road. For more informa- tion or registration, please call (215) 587-5639. The Contraception of Grief: The Genesis of Anguish Conceived by Abortifacients and Sterilization This is an excellent book for picking up talking points for promoting Natural Family Planning. It describes The American Academy of FertilityCareTM Profes- sionals annual meeting took place in Harrisburg some of the effects of contraception on individuals from July 15-18. Dorice Millar CFCE and Spirit Fer- while also explaining the Catholic Church’s teaching. tilityCareTM served as the site host. The meeting was In its ninety-nine pages, it gives testimonials by some sponsored by the AAFCP, Creighton University, and couples on how use of contraception hurt them. As Holy Spirit Hospital. About 200 professionals were in attendance. A diverse group of speakers were on the agenda for the meeting. “We could now enjoy sex ‘any time, any place.’ Many physicians lectured on medical treatment op- We were in control of our sexuality and free tions for couples struggling with infertility. Dr. Thom- from any daily birth control, or so I thought… as Hilgers, founder of the Creighton Model Fertility- The reality of the situation was that our sex life CareTM System refuted some common misconceptions didn’t get any better. In fact, it was probably about using oral contraceptives for endometriosis, and the success of clomid verses ovarian wedge resection for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Dr. Mark Stegman of the Center for Women’s Health discussed the cur-rent treatment options for endometriosis through the “My deepest needs as a woman were not be- use of surgical NaPro Technology. Dr. Joseph Harryhill ing fulfilled. I craved intimacy, love, tender- discussed current treatments for male infertility which ness, and communication. My husband spent include hormonal evaluation and surgical techniques. years thinking that he was the best lover in the General sessions also explored psychological, theo- world. He never realized, until we started prac- logical, and ethical issues pertinent to NFP provid- ticing Natural Family Planning, that I never ers. Christine Wittman, licensed practical counselor, felt loved by him as long as he was willing to discussed ways to help couples become closer using a use me whenever the urge hit him. That’s how method of Natural Family Planning for both achiev- I felt—used, like a sexual object. I never truly ing an avoiding pregnancy. She shared ways of dealing felt loved by him until I saw his willingness to with difficult clients and also proper referral sources for sacrifice and honor the cycles of my body. Our couples who are struggling in their marriages. times of abstinence brought forth the commu- Christopher West eloquently discussed Pope John nication and respect I longed for. It grieves me Paul II’s Theology of the Body and reminded us how that we spent so many years trying to figure it wonderfully and beautifully we are created to give and out, fumbling through urges and temptations, receive love. Fr. Tad Pacholczyk spoke about the moral seeking any methods available for instant grati- and ethical issues surrounding assisted reproductive fication. Trying to please my husband and be techniques and how they objectify women. At the clos- desirable left me with feelings of resentment ing banquet, he explained the moral and ethical issues and bitterness. No one talks about these deep of embryonic stem cell research. The closing liturgy was cravings. It’s almost as if you are not allowed celebrated by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Harrisburg to speak of deeper desires of the heart because contraception has become such an accepted The annual meeting was informative, collabora- practice. We don’t even realize that we long for tive, and interactive. Attendees were able to refresh old friendships and make new connections. We all left spiritually and intellectually renewed.
The book can be ordered by going to the Priest’s for Learn more about the American Academy of Fer- Life online store at
tilityCareTM Professionals at
The Importance of Teaching NFPContinued from front cover by the contraceptive mentality and its underlying fear, • Put NFP brochures and copies of Humanae Vitae in your church (ask your pastor first), The Family Life Office does all it can to promote Catholic hospitals, and Catholic book stores NFP. This includes disseminating information via the • Put an ad or bulletin insert in your parish monthly “priests’ mailing,” scheduling NFP classes, providing NFP Witness Couple presenters to parishes, • To encourage your pastor/priest/deacon to discussing NFP during marriage preparation, and an- speak about NFP in his homilies, print out swering phone calls about NFP. We need your help, too! There are many things that you can do to promote NFP, and to encourage people to be trained as NFP • Contact me, Tara Plymouth, at 215-587- 3516 or [email protected] if you would like to learn how to be an NFP teacher.
• Put up NFP Awareness Week flyers all year: see 1 W.D. Moster et al., “Use of Contraception and Use of Family Planning Services in the United States: 1982-2002,” Advanced • Ask your pastor if NFP can be mentioned Data from Vital and Health Statistics, No. 350 (2004): 1-36. See also Richard Fehring, “The Catholic Physician and Natural in Prayers of the Faithful; examples are at Family Planning: Helping to Build a Culture of Life,” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 9.2 (2009): 305-323.
Don’t Forget Respect Life Sunday on October 4! Visit for homily ideas and the 2009–10 Respect Life Program.


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