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Natural Family Planning


God designed marriage as an "intimate partnership of life and love" (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). In God's design, marriage is a unique union of one man with one woman "for the whole of life" (see Canon 1055, The Code of Canon Law). Marriage is oriented to the good of the spouses and to the creation and nurture of new human life (see Gaudium et spes, no. 48). Making decisions therefore, about when and how many children to have in marriage is a sacred responsibility that God has entrusted to husband and wife. This is the foundation of what the Church calls, "Responsible Parenthood"--the call to discern God's will for your marriage while respecting His design for life and love. 

The Catholic Church supports the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) because they respect God's design for married love. In fact, NFP represents the only authentic approach to family planning available to husbands and wives because these methods can be used to both attempt or avoid pregnancy. When learning about NFP, it is important to know that: 

Natural Family Planning is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle. Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman's cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.

NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.                                          (Standards for Diocesan Natural Family Planning Ministry, p. 23)

This section of the USCCB website provides information and resources that will help you to learn about the methods of Natural Family Planning and Catholic teaching which supports its use in marriage. Many of the resources here are tailored for diocesan NFP coordinators, teachers and educators.

NFP Site Map
This link provides a listing of the content subjects provided in this section.

Young family in the yard.Announcements

    • October 19th, 2014 will mark the closing of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family as well as the beatification of the Servant of God Pope Paul VI. We remember Pope Paul VI with great gratitude for his prophetic insights into conjugal love and responsible parenthood especially as seen in his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae.

      Please join us in praying for the Synod (official prayer here) and join us in asking for the intercession of Pope Paul VI for all families, that they may joyfully discover and live God's beautiful plan for married love and life. Servant of God Pope Paul VI, pray for us! More...

    • Alice and Jeff Heinzen, a married couple, parents of three adult children, grandparents, NFP teachers, and long-time marriage ministers from the Diocese of LaCrosse, are auditors at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome. Read their reflection which they presented to the synod fathers on October 7th here. (Read more ...)

  • The Instrumentum Laboris, the agenda of the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, is now posted on the Vatican's website. Entitled, The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization this document provides a substantive reflection on the major challenges facing the family in the early twenty-first century as well as articulates certain pastoral challenges. Please pray for our bishops as they look forward to the Extraordinary Synod!

  • Thank you to all of you who have so energetically celebrated National NFP Awareness Week! We have received messages from NFP educators who have provided talks, worked information tables after Sunday Mass in their parishes, and also published articles in diocesan NFP newspapers and on websites. In fact, for an example of a wonderful article that the Knights of Columbus published on their website, see:

    In addition to the above, USCCB NFP Program assistant director, Theresa Notare, PhD, offered a series of  talks in the Diocese of Crookston (Minnesota) during 2014 NFP week. The presentations were part of the diocesan year-long celebration devoted to marriage. Many thanks to Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner for launching this important year of marriage!

  • Bishop James D. Conley, Diocese of Lincoln, posted a new pastoral letter on marriage and family: Read and Share!

  • NFP Awareness Week 2014 will be celebrated on July 20-26. The 2014 slogan is: "NFP, it's worth it! Join the Revolution!" Have you been planning your diocesan NFP celebrations? Need ideas? Visit here!

  • Attention Diocesan NFP Coordinators: Please be advised that you have been sent an e-mail requesting your data for the 2013 NFP Profile Survey. If you have not received the e-mail please contact us at: Thank you!

  • Please visit our new education page for physicians!
    See: NFP Education for Healthcare Professionals


Couple smiling at their wedding.Events

  • National NFP Awareness Week 2014 takes place July 20-26th nationwide!  More

  • September 12-14, 2014: NFP Instructor Training, held  in Lothian, MD. Hosted by Family of the Americas Foundation. More

  • Save the dates—November 21-22 for the next BOMA-USA conference, "Excellence in Teaching" (Lake Dallas, TX). Accommodations at Monserrat Jesuit Retreat Center. For more information, contact: Sue Ek, P.O. Box 2135, St. Cloud, MN 56302; 651-699-8139;



  • The St. Augustine Foundation has developed a new website to help you educate on NFP and Catholic teaching on human sexuality, the virtue of chastity, marriage, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. A special feature are brief courses tailored to young adults. Also included is a video of interviews with Catholic physicians. See

  • BOMA-USA Billings Ovulation Method Association has available the second edition of the book, A Preachable Message. For couples who would like to learn the Billings Method online, WOOMB offers distance education. Contact: Sue Ek at
  • Women, Sex, and the Church; A Case for Catholic Teaching, (Erika Bachiochi, ed.), is  written by women who challenge "the common misconceptions that the Catholic Church's teachings are anti-women and anti-sex." This book offers a variety of faithful Catholic women writing on such issues as: love, sex, reproduction, women in the home, and women in the world. A teaching guide designed especially for students of law, feminist theory, and sexual and social ethics is also available. See: Women, Sex and the Church.

  • Now available, the video, "Saying I Do:  What Happens at a Catholic Wedding," introduces viewers to the Roman Catholic Rite of Marriage and answers frequently asked questions about Catholic marriage. This 22-minute video is available for free on the homepage of the For Your Marriage Website.
  • On-line Introduction to the Billings Method  Sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago this on-line course provides an introduction to the science of NFP and the Billings Method in particular. A special feature is a video of the NFP couple who teach and witness to living the NFP lifestyle. Supplemental materials such as PDF documents for further reading are also included. Register online. For more information contact: Maria Garcia, NFP Coordinator, Archdiocese of Chicago, (312) 534-8273; e-mail:
  • On-Line Marriage Preparation  Developed by the Archdiocese of Chicago, this program allows engaged couples to experience a qualified Catholic Pre-Cana program completely at their convenience through the Internet. Interested? See: Online Marriage Prep.

  • Catholic Marriage Prep is an on-line resource and part of Agape Catholic Ministries in the Diocese of Colorado Springs.. It allows for both marriage prep and NFP classes in person or on the web. To find out more visit  their website
  • Need NFP resources to give to your parish priest? See the "Clergy Packet" published by the Couple to Couple League.
  • Daughters Forever, Sons Forever: Helping Parents Connect with Teens on Important Issues by Linda Kracht, is a resource for Catholic parents who wish to counter negative cultural messages and raise faithful teens. The book tackles such topics as gender, vocations, and fertility. The book and study guides can be purchased by visiting Fortifying Families of Faith.



Mission of the USCCB Natural Family Planning Program

Helping couples to deepen conjugal love and achieve responsible parenthood is part of the Church's total pastoral ministry to Catholic spouses. Fulfillment of this ministry includes both education and pastoral care. This means "instilling conviction and offering practical help to those who wish to live out their parenthood in a truly responsible way" (Familiaris consortio, #35).

Permission is granted for copying and reprinting the NFP information on this website. Please cite the source of the information and unless otherwise noted, please include the following text: "Used with permission from the NFP Program, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved."

Contact Information:

Natural Family Planning Program
Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life & Youth
3211 4th Street NE
Washington, DC 20017

Telephone: (202) 541-3240

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