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Natural Family Planning

NFP Awareness Week 2016As a Catholic community, we “must take on the task of instilling conviction and offering practical help to those who wish to live out their parenthood in a truly responsible way” (Familiaris Consortio, 35).
Natural Family Planning, or NFP, is a method of birth regulation that is consistent with Catholic marriage vows by which a couple recognizes the natural, biological signs of fertility and infertility. To avoid pregnancy, the couple abstains from all sexual contact during the fertile time. To achieve pregnancy, the couple engages in marital intercourse during the fertile time.
National NFP Awareness Week, July 22-28, 2018 
Natural Family Planning is presented as a support for married couples to honor God's plan. The national educational campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Natural Family Planning Awareness Week highlights the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25) and the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne (July 26), the parents of the Blessed Mother. This year's theme is : Generations of Love: Celebrate God's Gift of Married Love!  The theme focuses on God's gift of the nature of marriage to husband and wife and draws from the anniversary of Humanae Vitae which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, marital love and responsible parenthood.  For further information, visit  

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae July 23

Join Bishop Walkowiak and families from around the diocese July 23 at 6 p.m. for Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew followed by a picnic on the Piazza Secchia (rain or shine) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of Blessed Paul VI's Humanae Vitae, the historic encyclical on human life. (Details)
Watch video series: "Humanae Vitae: Everything you wanted to know, but didn't know who to ask" (June 2018, presentations cover the encyclical and its history, as well as the methodology and practice of natural family planning and its impact on marriage and children.)
Resources for Natural Family Planning
Website ​Description
What is Natural Family Planning? (NFP) ​The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on
Natural Family Planning: contains Church teaching,
information on NFP classes, as well as other resources.
NFP in the Diocese of Grand Rapids  ​Informative brochure outlining classes and contacts for methods taught in the West Michigan area.
2018 NFP Class Schedule (from the Grand Rapids NFP Coalition)
Edited August NFP Brochure 8 2018.pdf (2018/2019)
Couple to Couple League

​A non-profit organization dedicated to instructing couples on
Natural Family Planning methods. It was founded in
response to the encyclical letter Humanae Vitae that
married couples help other married couples with Natural
Family Planning. The website contains a schedule of
classes offered at parishes in the diocese.

​NFP-Billings Ovulation Method Billings Ovulation Method in the Grand Rapids Area
The Billings Ovulation Method is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you how to recognize the body’s natural signal of fertility - cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is a scientific and reliable signal of fertility. For more information: Christy and Paul Brown, D.O. (GR)
Jim and Amber Hiske (GR)
Carlos and Erica Alcaraz (Granville) Spanish Available
Danielle Koestner, DO (Grand Haven)
Chrystal Bisonet (Grand Haven)
Tressa Crosby (Muskegon)
NFP Online ​Web-based courses on the Billings method available through the Archdiocese of Chicago.
NFP-Creighton Learn about this system of implementing NFP in a purposeful
way. Addresses family planning, women's health, infertility
solutions, IFV alternatives. Contact Georgia Schmitz, RN, at the
Franciscan Life Process Center in Lowell, 616-481-9699 or
​NFP - Marquette The Marquette Model uses the ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor, measures hormone levels in urine to estimate the beginning and end of the time of fertility in a women’s menstrual cycle. The information from the monitor can be used in conjunction with observations of cervical mucus, basal body temperature, or other biological indicators of fertility,
Symptopro Fertility Education
SymptoPro Fertility Education is a symptom-thermal method of NFP which relies on a woman’s daily observations to determine her current state of fertility. It can be used at any stage of a woman’s reproductive lifespan, including long or irregular cycles, while breastfeeding, or while approaching menopause. Laura Chapin, LMSW Franciscan Life Process Center 616-319-3841 Classes are also available on line at
​NFP -
Sympto-Thermal Method is based on three key signs of fertility: cervical, mucus, basal body temperature and changes in the cervix. By observing and recording these signs you can identify fertility or infertility.
Classes offered as Live Onsite, Live Online and Self-Paced On line – To search and register for classes go to Courses are available in Spanish upon request: Contact Eric & Mary Ann Bridge (616) 272-0368

FAITH Grand Rapids magazine,
June 2016 article

​Natural Reproductive Technology: Life Science - Dr. Kimberly
Barrows offers new approach to natural family planning.

CONTRACEPTION: The Real Story Sixteen-part educational video series educational resource
is helpful for parents, diocesan staff, teachers, Catholic
physicians, and parents. Developed by the staff of the
St. Augustine Foundation (SAF), the text was written in
consultation with a variety of national NFP educators
and Catholic physicians. Recommended by the USCCB.
Resources for unexpected pregnancy
Catholic Charities West Michigan Providing resources and counseling for those and their
families experiencing an unexpected pregnancy including
counseling and adoption services.
Resources for couples experiencing infertility
For Your Marriage |  Por Tu Matrimonio
​The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website
provides information and resources for couples struggling
with infertility/El portal Web oficial de Por Tu Matrimonio
es la iniciativa por el matrimonio y la familia cristiana de
la Conferencia de Obispos de Estados Unidos (USCCB)
por sus siglas en español.
Elizabeth Ministry International
Retreat and Resource Center

​Provides support and assistance in responding
to the proliferation of mind- boggling options.
Call 920-766-9380 or email
Pope Paul VI Institute for the
Study of Human Reproduction
​Provides information on NaProTechnology, a new
reproductive science, which does not compromise
the sanctity of life or marriage.
Resources for those who've experienced a miscarriage
The Silent Sorrow Article by Maureen Otremba, M.A., and
Jim Otremba, M.Div, M.S., LICSW. They have experienced infertility and multiple miscarriages.
Elizabeth Ministry International
​An international movement designed to support women
and their families during the joys, trials and sorrows
of the childbearing years. Provides peer support,
mentoring, spiritual nourishment, educational and
inspirational resources. The organization is
particularly noted for its pastoral care strategies
for miscarriage.
Church Documents
Married Love and the Gift of Life
Developed by the Committee for Pro-Life Activities of the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
and was approved for publication by the full body
of bishops November 2006. (en Español)
Humanae Vitae: On the Regulation of Births ​Full text of the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, 1968.