Homily aids for priests and deacons, articles on the Church’s teachings on National Family Planning (NFP) and stories from real-life couples who have put the method to use are among the materials that would be distributed in this year’s US NFP Awareness Week from July 19-25.

This annual week-long event is a national educational campaign of the Natural Family Planning Program of the US Bishops’ Conference that promotes Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood.

The theme for this year is: “Live the truth and beauty of God’s plan for married love!”

According to the US Bishops, the week will highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (25 July 1968) on human life, and the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne (26 July), the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Church teaches that the “Sacrament of matrimony symbolises Christ’s relationship with His Church… a relationship of total, faithful, permanent and fruitful love,” the Bishops explained in their Prayer and Liturgy guide for the event.

Therefore, when couples live out their vocation according to the Church’s teachings, especially with regard to the transmission of life, they grow in “holiness and consequent deepening of their respect and awe of God’s gift of human sexuality, marriage and family.”

NFP methods are based on the “observation of the naturally occurring signs of symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle, “ the Bishops said. It requires “no drugs, no devices or surgical procedures” to avoid pregnancy. Vatican News

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