The Catholic Church in the United States is dedicating July 24th through the 30th as a time for us to be aware and learn more about Natural Family Planning (NFP). Rightly so, the Church needs to stress NFP, because it is the correct teaching/understanding about human sexuality. The Diocese of Rockford, through the Life and Family Evangelization office, offers the Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation Seminar for all couples preparing for the sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
This event is “a day-long retreat for couples preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church. It is presented at various locations around the diocese throughout the year. The day includes a series of presentations that will help couples grow in their understanding of the sacrament of matrimony, reflect on the gift of themselves that they are preparing to make to one another, and deepen their relationship with God and one another.” (www.rockforddiocese.org)
During my years of theology at KenrickGlennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO, I had the opportunity to receive formation from Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, MD. Dr. Hilgers is internationally recognized for his outstanding achievements in the field of natural fertility regulation and reproductive medicine. He is the founder of Pope Paul VI Institute (www.popepaulvi.com).
Now in my ministry, I help with the Gift of Self: Marriage Preparation Seminars, sharing with couples the theology of the body. Because these teachings of the Church are unfamiliar to many, I have found it important to share them with you at this time.
NFP and the theology of the body is the counterpoint for all the misunderstandings about the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony and human sexuality. Therefore, if you have not heard about these teachings of the Church, I invite you to invest time in leaning about them.
God Bless St. Patrick’s Parish.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.