City of Covington blessed with relic of St. Rocco

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Bishop Roger Foys ended the Triduum of Prayer to end the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, especially the fear and division among God’s people, with Mass Aug. 22, the feast of the Coronation of Mary. After three days of prayer, fasting and sacrifice Bishop Foys celebrated Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington, and then traveled around the city of Covington to bless it with a relic of St. Rocco, protector against pandemics.

In his homily, Bishop Foys emphasized the importance of trusting in Mary’s intercession “in this time of darkness.”

“God brought light into a darkened world and the vessel that brought that light into the world was none other than the Blessed Virgin Mary,” he said. “We place our trust in her because she is not only our queen, but she is our mother, entrusted to us by Jesus as he hung on the Cross.”

This is a time for learning from Mary’s example, Bishop Foys said, such as at the annunciation and the crucifixion. “She had total trust in God even though she didn’t understand anything. And yet she accepted. Her heart was broken as she held his broken body … and yet not a word of complaint. She didn’t understand and yet she believed. That’s what faith is.

“We end this Triduum of Prayer looking to the Blessed Mother as our example of how to live life not understanding, but accepting, believing, confident that the Lord will hear our prayer.”

Following Mass, Bishop Foys traveled with the relic of St. Rocco to the parishes in Covington. He began with St. Elizabeth Medical Center on 12th Street, and continued to St. John the Evangelist Parish, St. Ann Mission, Mother of God Parish, Our Savior Parish, St. Benedict Parish, Holy Cross Parish, St. Anthony Parish and St. Augustine Parish. Outside each parish, he prayed to St. Rocco and blessed the people gathered and the church with the relic.

Catholic schools and families persevere for in-person instruction with self-quarantines

Messenger Staff Report

As the first week ended and second week began of in-person instruction in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Covington three students have tested positive for COVID-19, necessitating self-quarantines at three separate schools. Currently, these are isolated cases and the students are believed to have contracted the virus outside of the school community.

“In two of these cases the exposure is believed to have come from small family gatherings. In the third case the student is assumed positive because the student began experiencing symptoms after a family member had tested positive,” said Laura Keener, diocesan communications director and COVID coordinator.

The schools involved and the numbers of students self-quarantined are: St. Paul School, Florence, 24 students; St. Mary School, Alexandria, 17 students and Holy Cross District High School (HCDHS), 29 students.

The case at HCDHS was received late in the evening Sunday night, prompting the diocese and school officials to cancel in-person classes Monday, Aug. 24, to allow time to sanitize the school, review the student’s schedule and seating charts and begin contact tracing.

“We wanted to make sure we followed the process and took all necessary steps to keep our students and faculty safe,” said Mike Holtz, principal, HCDHS. “It was important for us take our time and do it the right way.”

By the close of the school day Monday, the parents of all 29 students determined to be close contacts in the case had been notified. Mr. Holtz transitioned the school to non-traditional instruction on Tuesday, with in-person classes set to resume Wednesday, August 26.

“As the year progresses we expect that these situations will occur in our school communities where classes will have to transition to at-home instruction or students will need to quarantine — either because they are experiencing symptoms, have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive or have themselves tested positive for COVID-19. Our schools are prepared for this. No one, especially students, should feel afraid to admit that they may need to quarantine,” Mrs. Keener said.

Mrs. Keener said that this is a good time to for families to recommit to reviewing and following the Diocese of Covington “COVID-19 Return to School Requirements,” the most up-to-date copy is available here.

“Right now we really need school families to remain at home as much as possible — certainly avoid crowds and travel — and if they must go out, to wear a facial covering and maintain a safe social distance of six feet from others,” Mrs. Keener said. “The health of our school communities will depend on the choices parents make. Our school administrators and teachers have worked hard to implement the requirements necessary to bring students back in the classroom. We believe our parents are equally committed to in-person instruction and encourage them to make the sacrifices necessary to sustain in-person instruction.”

Cross the Bridge for Life sponsors fund grant program

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

When the 15th annual Cross the Bridge for Life was cancelled this June, organizers already had a contingency plan, but they didn’t know what a significant impact it would make. To celebrate 15 years, the Steering Committee planned a grant program to support some members of the Life Coalition — pregnancy centers and organizations from the Greater Cincinnati Area that support the pro-life movement.

Karen Riegler, chair of the Steering Committee, said they had originally planned to give about $5,000 from the treasury to an organization or two. However, what began as a small award turned into a major support fund for many organizations.

Weeks before the annual event, the committee made the difficult decision to cancel it. She and her team reached out to companies that usually sponsor it, and asked them if they would consider using their donations for grants instead of the cancelled event. Many of them instantly said yes. The Paying it Forward Grant was created.

“It was very heartening when our sponsors, especially our major sponsor, Johnson Nash, absolutely didn’t bat an eye to provide their sponsorship,” said Mrs. Riegler. “They knew we would put it to good use. And so many of our event sponsors, our red rose and our white rose sponsors, many of them followed suit.”

Mrs. Riegler said the Cross the Bridge event is normally an opportunity to “witness to life and bring awareness to the organizations in the area who support the decision to choose life.”

The grant program will keep the Life Coalition organizations running in spite of this year’s strange events. Ten of the 20 submitted an application, and three judges provided awards to the recipients. Letters went out to recipients this week with the good news.

“The sponsor support provided the ability to substantially increase the funds and everyone who applied for the grant received something,” said Mrs. Riegler. This is important, she said, because they are all experiencing the same demand for services and support while receiving much less funds to meet them.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them were not able to have their fundraisers that they normally schedule, so I would think that it would have a substantial impact,” said Mrs. Riegler. “These agencies work very hard to support women and men to choose life, and after they do as well. They offer a lot of things like parenting classes and ongoing support.”

These needs didn’t go away because of COVID, she said. “I think this (grant) should have an impact on how these agencies are able to be able to respond.”

Life Coalition
A Caring Place
Adoption Professionals, LLC
CareNet Pregnancy Services of N. Ky
Catholic Charities
Cincinnati Right to Life Education FDN
Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home
Elizabeth’s New Life Women’s Center
Eve Center
Franciscan Daughters of Mary
Healthy Beginnings
Healthy Moms and Babes
Life Forward Pregnancy Care of Cincinnati
Madonna House
New Hope Center
Old St. Mary’s Pregnancy Center
Pregnancy Center East
Pregnancy Center West
Pregnancy Resource Center
Reach Out Pregnancy Center
Vivian’s Victory

Cross the Bridge Grant Sponsors

Johnson Nash Metal Products, Inc.
Fred Espenscheid Plumbing
Riegler Blacktop, Inc.
Barb and Joe Knight
Heritage Bank
Kaiser Pickles
M. C. Steel & Crane Service
Roether Service Station Maintenance
Ruehl Electric
William J. Kathman, Jr. Attorney at Law
DBL Law
Schilling Marketing & Associates
Middendorf Funeral Home
James & Martha Suetholz
Mr. Mike Mulcahy

Cross the Bridge Grants

$2000
Pregnancy Resource Center — A Place of Hope
Washer/dryer for Blessing Room to launder donated items.

CareNet Pregnancy Services of Northern Kentucky
Ten users simultaneously support their new online parenting program, Brightcourse.

Reachout Pregnancy Center
To purchase three tablets for use by clients in counseling rooms for Brightcourse program.

Pregnancy Center West
Implement Brightcourse Program

Pregnancy Center East
To install a dressing room area for expectant moms to try on maternity clothing with privacy
and dignity.

$1000
Elizabeth’s New Life Center
In support of their Capital Campaign — to open a new Women’s Center in Mt. Healthy and to
sustain its operations for the first two years as we combat the exceptionally high rates of
abortion in that zip code area.

Cincinnati Right to Life Educational Foundation
New initiative to reach women at Planned Parenthood with “Blessing Bags.” The bags will
contain important information about life issues as well as a couple small gifts.

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington
To help continue the Life Line Fund with helps birth parents by covering costs of rent, utilities,
food or other needs such as diapers and formula if they have other children.

Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home
Residential Treatment and Behavioral Therapy Program support.

New Hope Pregnancy Center
Support expansion of their ultrasound program by adding additional sonographers to staff and
funds towards machines at other locations.

Triduum of Prayer to end with blessing of the city

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Bishop Roger Foys will travel through Covington with a relic of St. Rocco Saturday, August 22 after the 10 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. The Mass is a conclusion of a Triduum of Prayer to end the COVID-19 pandemic and all its effects, including an end of fear and division among God’s people. Bishop Foys will ask for St. Rocco’s intercession over Covington and the world to end the plague.

St. Rocco, or Roch, is the patron saint invoked against plagues and serious illness. What makes him such a powerful intercessor?

Rocco was born in Montpellier, France around 1295. His father was the governor of the city, and their family was quite wealthy. It is said that he bore the birthmark of a red cross on his chest, and was an extremely devout child.

Rocco lost his parents at 20 years old. He then gave the governorship to his uncle and distributed his goods among the poor, leaving for Rome on pilgrimage with no worldly possessions. During his journey, the Black Plague hit Europe, and the towns he passed through were stricken with illness. As he traveled, he tended to the sick and cured people with the sign of the cross. He continued to cure plague victims until he became ill himself with sores and retreated to a hut in the forest, alone. A dog came upon him, and sustained him for a time, bringing him food and licking his sores. Eventually, the dog’s owner followed the dog to Rocco’s hideout and cared for him until he recovered. This is why Rocco is usually depicted in art pointing at a sore on his leg, with a dog nearby.

Une statue de Saint Roch à l’ermitage de Saint-Ferréol à Céret.

 

It is rumored that he joined the Franciscan order, but there are not many sources to back up this claim.

He eventually traveled back to his native France after his recovery, and returned home. Upon his arrival, he discovered Montpellier at war, and since he would not explain his identity, he was arrested as a spy. His appearance was greatly altered by his illness, and he was still dressed as a poor pilgrim. Instead of explaining himself and revealing his identity, he entrusted himself to God’s will.

He spent five years in prison, where he died in 1327. Upon his death, his birthmark identified him as Rocco to his uncle — the governor. His family then held a splendid funeral for him and had a Church built in his honor. His relics were carried to Venice and remain there.

During the Middle Ages, he was highly revered and commonly prayed to, since plague was far more common. His intercession has been known to cure many who are ill, including all who caught the plague during the 1414 Council of Constance. The town prayed to him, and the plague left them.

Under the invocation of Rocco, Pope Paul III instituted a confraternity to have charge of the church and hospital erected during the pontificate of Pope Alexander VI. Because of its quick popularity, Pope Paul IV raised it to an archconfraternity, so that other such confraternities could be founded.

He is the patron saint of invalids, dogs, the falsely accused and against contagious diseases. His feast day is August 16.

Diocese to celebrate awarding of pontifical honors

Laura Keener, Editor.

“If one part of the body suffers, all parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” (1 Cor. 12:26)

The Diocese of Covington has cause for joy as Pope Francis bestowed pontifical honors on 31 of its priests, religious and laity. Earlier this year, Bishop Roger Foys had requested that these individuals be honored and was recently notified of the Holy Father’s acceptance.

“The giving of papal honors is a time honored tradition of the Church. Following that time honored tradition we chose a broad spectrum of people who have contributed a wonderful service to the Church and by extension to the Holy Father,” said Bishop Foys in an interview about the announcement. “There are so many people in the diocese over the 165 years of its existence who have done remarkable work for the Church. When we work together as one we are always much stronger.”

Two honors have been awarded: the title “Chaplain to His Holiness” and “The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” (“For the Church and the Pontiff).

Chaplain to His Holiness (monsignor) is an honor bestowed upon priests who have distinguished themselves in service and ministry to the Church and who are at least 65 years of age. The Holy Father has granted four diocesan priests the title “monsignor” — Msgr. Ronald Ketteler, Msgr. Gerald Reinersman, Msgr. Gerald Twaddell and Msgr. Daniel Vogelpohl.

The Cross Pro-Ecclesia et Pontifice is a papal award bestowed on clergy, religious and lay faithful in recognition of distinguished service given to the Church. Pope Leo XIII, in marking his 50th priestly jubilee, established the award in 1888. He did not intend for it to be a long-standing award but it has since become part of Church tradition. Two priests, one deacon, nine women religious and 16 lay men and women will receive the award. They are: Father Ryan Maher, V.G.; Father Daniel Schomaker, V.G.; Sister Janet Bucher, C.D.P.; Sister Celeste Marie Downes, S.J.W.; Mother Margaret Mary Fields, C.P.; Sister Marla Monahan, S.N.D.; Sister Fran Moore, C.D.P.; Mother Mary Christina Murray, S.J.W.; Sister Mary Ethel Parrott, S.N.D.; Sister Marget Stallmeyer, C.D.P; Sister Mary Catherine Wenstrup, O.S.B.; Mary Brown; William and Anne Burleigh; William and Sue Butler; Charlie and Mary Sue Deters; Timothy Fitzgerald; Deacon Gerald Franzen; Mark and Casey Guilfoyle; Berry Mang; Clare Quigley; Karen Riegler; Clare Ruehl and Margaret Schack. Each of these honorees will receive metal cross bearing the images of St. Paul and St. Peter suspended from a yellow and white ribbon.

The Diocese of Covington will host an investiture ceremony for the monsignors and The Cross will be distributed to honorees at a ceremony Sunday, Sept. 27, 2 p.m., at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. Due to capacity restrictions the event will be ticketed. The general public is invited to join the celebration online as it is live streamed on the Cathedral website, www.covcathedral.com. The ceremony will be recorded for future viewing.

“This honor is a celebration for the Diocese of Covington, certainly for these individuals and their families, to highlight the good work that they have done for the Church, most often unrecognized and quietly,” said Bishop Foys.

Local Eagle Scouts give back to Church with service projects

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

To earn their final rank, Eagle Scouts choose a project to display leadership and help the community. There are as many options as there are scouts, but some young men chose to use their project to serve the Church.

Nick Csordas, a member of St. Joseph Parish, Camp Springs, completed a project for his parish to fulfill working toward the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 86. On July 25, he led a group of volunteers to construct shelving units for the preschool at St. Joseph School to maintain CDC guidelines due to COVID-19.

A Scout for 11 years, Mr. Csordas said to earn his final rank, he must complete a project demonstrating leadership qualities. He knew he wanted to do something for his parish, so he talked with Father Ryan Stenger, who suggested he help make the school COVID-19 friendly. Mr. Csordas attended the school himself, so he knows how important it is to the children there. He’s now approaching his junior year at Bishop Brossart High School, Alexandria.

“The preschool has to expand into multiple classrooms and there is an increase in enrollment, so there has to be a way to spread the children out and have room for their toys,” said Mr. Csordas.

The project includes a total of 18 shelving units, in different sizes and configurations depending on needs of the preschool. It involves cutting, measuring and assembling the boards, which will be sanded, stained and coated in polymer thane to be presentable and durable for the children.

The estimated cost of materials is $2,000. Mr. Csordas reached out to parishioners and asked for donations of their time and money to assist the school.

“People have responded and said they want to help as much as they can,” he said. “I wanted to help the parish in any way that I could because they’ve been so supportive of me over the years. I wanted to give back to them.”

Daniel Litteral, Troop 779 from St. Pius Parish, Edgewood, also completed his final Scout project by assisting the Diocese of Covington.

On the corners of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Scott Blvd. along the Cathedral Basilica parking lot, Mr. Litteral turned barren dirt and dying shrubs into a healthy and flourishing plot.

“My troop had a lot of local projects in our parish and I wanted to get away from that and expand, so I asked the Bishop what the diocese needed,” said Mr. Litteral. “He tasked me with fixing up the plot.”

Mr. Litteral went to several nurseries and talked to them about plant types, then drew up a zealous and high maintenance plan for the space. After talking with Don Knochelmann from Buildings and Properties, he simplified the plan to grasses and hearty trees, Golden Armstrong Maples, which wouldn’t require as much upkeep when he finished.

He said it took more effort to prepare the soil than to actually plant, because he had to remove stones and broken glass and till the soil to make it usable. He planted a line of trees, lined them with grass and ended with laying mulch.

“The part I liked most was random people walking down the street, who would say, ‘It’s looking good, thank you for doing this,’” he said. “People would have small chats with me and say how excited they were for it to look better. It’s good to see it all come to fruition.”

Mr. Litteral, who just graduated from St. Henry District High School, Erlanger, has been a Scout for seven years. He plans to attend Eastern Kentucky University in the fall studying nursing.

Bishop Foys accepts candidate for seminary

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Zacharias Schoen, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Aug. 9, in a ceremony known as the Rite of Candidacy, declared his intention to discern a priestly vocation as a seminarian for the Diocese of Covington. Bishop Roger Foys, on behalf of the entire Church, accepted his candidacy. Mr. Schoen has completed his philosophical studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus. He will begin his theological studies that will lead to ordination at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.

“It gives me joy to welcome our seminarian Zacharias Schoen to this Rite of Candidacy,” said Bishop Foys. “He has listened to the voice of the Lord. It is the Lord who has begun this good work in him, and it is the Lord who will bring it to completion.”

This fall 12 men will be studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Covington. At the end of his homily, Bishop Foys said: “It is a good time for our seminarians and all seminarians to remind themselves about keeping focused on the Lord. The journey to the priesthood is not always easy… I encourage our seminarians today to renew their commitment, to listen carefully to the voice of the Lord and never take their eyes off of him.”

There are four new seminarians this year. All 12 will begin or continue their studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus and St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe. (From left to right) Top row: Michael Elmlinger, William Pikar, Bradley Whittle, John Tarvin, Henry “Hank” Bischoff, Michael Schulte, Joshua “Josh” Heskamp, John Baumann. Bottom row: Justin Schwarz, Deacon Joseph Rielage, Bishop Roger Foys, Andrew Joseph “A.J.” Gedney and Zacharias Schoen.

Catholic schools to reopen August 17

Messenger Staff Report

In a letter to Catholic School leaders Bishop Roger Foys and Mike Clines, superintendent of Catholic Schools, announced that schools would begin in-person instruction the week of August 17 in the Diocese of Covington.

The decision was made after much consultation, including with the Kentucky bishops of Lexington, Louisville and Owensboro, and after hearing from our Catholic school communities. The schools have created various models for beginning the school year under the guidance of the Diocese of Covington’s Department of Catholic Schools “COVID-19 Return to School Requirements,” including an option for at-home learning if a parent decides that would be the best option for their student.

At each school implementation of the requirements will be monitored. During the week of Sept. 6, our experience to date will be evaluated and needed changes will be made at that time.

Many factors were considered in making this decision including:

— Pastors, administrators, faculty and staff have been working diligently throughout the summer with their local COVID-19 task force to prepare schools for strict adherence to the COVID-19 requirements. Their commitment to the students is evidenced by the excitement, seriousness and creativity in creating environments that meet the educational and safety needs of their students.
— A desire among the community — priests, principals, parents and students — to be given an opportunity to implement the plans that have been scrupulously developed; and their stated confidence in the plans.
— The understanding that education includes formation of the entire student — mind, body and soul — and is preferably accomplished in a faith community. Our concern for the welfare of our students includes their educational, emotional, social and spiritual development.

“As we move forward, we thank our parents for their support,” Bishop Foys and Mr. Clines said in their letter to Catholic School leaders. “The health of our schools will depend in large part on the health of each individual student. We are depending on our parents to monitor their child’s health every day and to keep their child home when they are sick.”

Parents are expected to adhere to the “COVID-19 Return to School Requirements” (copy attached) — frequently washing hands, wearing a mask, maintaining proper social distancing and eliminating unnecessary travel — so that together we can mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in our communities and sustain in-person instruction in our schools.

“We express our deepest gratitude to our school leaders for their selfless commitment to Catholic education,” they said.

Montessori Teacher – Prince of Peace

Prince of Peace Catholic Montessori, located in Covington, Kentucky, has an immediate opening for a full-time teacher for 2020-2021 school year.  The teaching level is ages 9-12, serving students in the traditional 4-6 grades.  Candidates should be practicing Catholics and have a valid teaching certificate with experience or training in the Montessori method.    Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume to Principal Tony Barkley at [email protected] or call 859-431-5153.

 

Natural Family Planning is about love, life, freedom and gift

By David Cooley.

In the midst of all that is going on in our country and in our world, it’s not surprising that Natural Family Planning Awareness Week (July 19-25) passed by under the radar without winning much interest or attention. In a way, it’s fitting because Natural Family Planning (NFP) is one of the best kept secrets that the Catholic Church has to offer our world. Of course it’s not really a secret, but — despite all the wonderful advantages that NFP has to offer and the exciting research that has been done — it just can’t seem to get the consideration and the response that it deserves. One of the big reasons that NFP is neglected is because, like a lot of what we believe to be good, true and beautiful, it is counter-cultural. Another reason is the lack of education, even in the medical field. I believe that one day, hopefully soon, this will change. It seems to me that there is a growing respect for all things natural and, perhaps, a profound realization that we can’t take the biological differences between men and women for granted anymore.

Natural Family Planning is the general title for the scientific, natural and moral methods of family planning that can help married couples either achieve or postpone pregnancies. NFP methods are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. Since the methods of NFP respect the love-giving and life-giving nature of the conjugal act, they support God’s design for married love. The occasion of NFP Awareness Week, promoted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, highlights the anniversary of the papal encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (July 25), which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood. The theme for NFP Awareness Week this year was: “Live the truth and beauty of God’s plan for married love. Natural Family Planning — It’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about freedom. It’s about gift.” A rather long theme, but I love it!

It’s about love

At the end of the day, what are we talking about here? We are talking about true love and the expression of that love. The nature of marriage calls husband and wife to sacred responsibilities. Within this vocation, a husband and wife are able to celebrate human sexuality in all its fullness. Their conjugal love is “meant to express the full meaning of love,” as willed by God, “its power to bind a couple … and its openness to new life” (USCCB, Married Love and the Gift of Life, 4). In our times, when God’s design for life and love are continuously assaulted and cheapened, it would do the world a lot of good if followers of Christ lived out the truth that God intended marital love to be total, faithful, permanent and fruitful. It is exactly the kind of love that people are searching for, the kind of love that people are hoping for, the kind of love that Hollywood movies so often get wrong. True love does exist. No matter how dark things get, the light of true love can never be entirely snuffed out. This is one of the reasons why Christian marriage is a sign of Christ’s presence in the world. It is a sign of God’s unconditional love for his people.

It’s about life

It’s no secret that our culture has done virtually everything it can to separate the conjugal act of love from both its unitive and procreative ends that it is oriented towards — especially the later. Whenever I reflect on this I always think of the novel “Children of Men” by P.D. James. It’s an intense, dystopian story that takes place in a future world without hope because the human race has become infertile and the youngest people in the world have now turned 18. I won’t tell you what happens, but it’s a reminder of how important children are (or should be) to us. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents and to society as a whole. What naturally follows if we remove the unitive and procreative meaning of sex? We forget about the spiritual aspect and the spiritual consequences. We are body and soul, you can’t give someone one without the other.

It’s about freedom

The so-called “sexual revolution” sold people, especially women, a lie that artificial birth control and contraception would be liberating. In reality, it turned people into mere sex objects and took away all responsibility from — you guessed it — men! In contrast, it’s empowering for young women to learn about their bodies and embrace the beauty of their fertility. Just as important, there are also countless testimonies of women who were able to discover early that something was wrong with their bodies because the symptoms weren’t masked by hormonal medication. NFP methods help a woman to recognize her unique signs of fertility, which she can observe on a daily basis. This knowledge is liberating.

In discovering the family as the “sanctuary of life” and the “heart of the culture of life,” men and women can be freed from the “culture of death.” In each child, couples and society must recognize a gift coming to them from God, a precious gift which must be loved and welcomed with joy. (PCF, The Ethical and Pastoral Dimensions of Population Trends, March 25, 1994, n. 89; Quoting Gaudium et Spes, n. 50)

It’s about gift

Bishop Robert Barron often says that behind every “no” that the Church gives there is a much bigger “yes.” When it comes to sexual morality we have the tendency to focus on the negative aspect of what’s not aloud. But there are good, solid reasons for the teachings of the Church that can be explained for the benefit for all mankind. Natural Family Planning is ultimately about saying “yes” to God’s design for love and life. It is also about saying “yes” to giving yourself completely to another, fertility and all.

Sexual desire is a gift from God. It is a response to the beauty that we see in others. God created us male and female so that we can learn to make a sincere gift of self to one another. Women and men are equal in that they are made in God’s image, but they are not the same. They complement each other. Together, they make the one flesh union of marriage which has the potential to give life and create a family. The union between a man and a woman is intended for marriage and is a foreshadowing of the union that will ultimately satisfy us — the union with God.

The great thing about Natural Family Planning and Theology of the Body is that— no matter where you are in life, no matter what age you are, no matter the circumstances of your past, no matter what vocation you are living out — it is always the perfect time to learn more about it and to embrace it.

David Cooley is co-director and office manager of the Office of Catechesis and Evangelization.

Local Natural Family Planning Resources:

Couple to Couple League
(513) 471-2000
www.ccli.org

St. Elizabeth Taylor Mill Primary Care office
Amy Fathman, APRN
Family Nurse Practitioner
(859) 491-2855

Divine Mercy Fertility Care
Rita Johnson
(517) 775-7229
https://naturalfertilitycare.org/