National NFP Awareness Week poster. Courtesy of
National NFP Awareness Week poster. Courtesy of

National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week, a national educational campaign sponsored by the United States Catholic Bishops, will take place July 24-30, marked in the Diocese of Trenton this year by a special emphasis on the role of husbands and fathers.

The week coincides with several noteworthy dates, including the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25), which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love, and responsible parenthood. The dates also mark the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne (July 26), the parents of the Blessed Mother. Pope Francis has designated that feast as World Grand-parents Day, a fitting commemoration during National NFP Awareness Week.

Sponsored by the Department of Evangelization and Family Life, diocesan NFP Awareness Week efforts will shed light on the unique role of men in cooperating with God’s divine plan for forming a family, while continuing to emphasize the mother-daughter connection and the special role of mothers as teachers, advisors, listeners, comforters and helpers for their daughters as they pass from childhood to womanhood and possibly to parenthood.

“Our efforts will promote the notion that husbands and wives together are ‘called to give life - [they are] cooperators with the love of God the creator [Catechism of the Catholic Church #2367],’” said Peg Hensler, associate director of Marriage Ministries and NFP. “Just as all girls need a mom or mother figure to guide them through the stages of development into womanhood, all boys need a dad or father figure to teach them what it means to become a man.”

To accompany the full set of resources for parishes to celebrate NFP Awareness Week, and the USCCB’s educational materials on responsible parenthood and fertility-based awareness methods of family planning, the Diocese is launching a new resource page specifically for men –

“While there is much information available on the benefits of NFP for married couples and for women who want to understand their fertility cycles,” Hensler continued, “the unique perspective of husbands and fathers in dealing with the realities of Natural Family Planning is often overlooked.”