Sheila Grove

USCCB graphic

ERIE — Natural Family Planning Awareness Week is July 19 – 26. The dates for this annual week-long event highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humane Vitae (July 25). The encyclical articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. The dates also mark the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Mother, on July 26.

        The church teaches that the sacrament of marriage symbolizes Christ's relationship with his church; a relationship of total, faithful, permanent and fruitful love.

        When couples live their vocation according to church teachings, especially with regard to the transmission of life, they grow in holiness and awareness of God's gifts of human sexuality, marriage and family.

        Although none of the events usually celebrated during this week will take place in the diocese this year because of the pandemic, the Chastity Education Office of the Diocese of Erie is available to support individuals and families in their efforts to joyfully and freely live God’s plan. It offers information on various methods of Natural Family Planning, chastity education guidelines, resources for parents, and training for NFP teachers, Pre-Cana speakers and parish ambassador couples. In-person programming for family and in schools will resume as safety allows.

        Kate Wilson, director of Faith Formation for Marriage and Family Life, is hopeful that, “Even though we will not gather physically, we continue to pray for families and couples and for an increase in respect for God’s plan for human love.”

Information is available at

and from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops at