Using Natural Family Planning has allowed Alli and Vince Coiro to more clearly discern what God is calling for their family.
Like other couples who are married in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Alli and Vince, parishioners of Holy Spirit in Maryland Heights, attended an NFP introductory session not long after their engagement in April 2017. Alli Coiro was familiar with some of the concepts of NFP going back to high school and her involvement in youth group. Vince Coiro didn’t know a whole lot about it until they were engaged. But both made the decision early on that they would embrace NFP in their marriage.
“It’s built on trust of one another, and trust in God,” Alli Coiro said. “It helps us to communicate what God might be desiring for our family right now. … It’s also helped us to love one another more fully and to become closer on topics that could easily be ignored.”
Vince Coiro said he feels that he is able to be involved in the process of tracking his wife’s fertility, which has been a benefit to their communication as a married couple. “With NFP, the woman is the primary observer, but the man also needs to engage, and the best way I have found to engage is to have conversations (with her) and to understand how the observation process works,” he said.
The U.S. bishops have designated July 19-25 as National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week. The week is a national educational campaign to celebrate God’s design for married love and the gift of life and to raise awareness of Natural Family Planning methods.
The week coincides with the anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, “Humanae Vitae” (July 25), which shares Catholic teaching about human sexuality, marital love and responsible parenthood; and the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne (July 26), the parents of the Blessed Mother.
The archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning provides information on several models of natural family planning, which are taught at numerous Catholic hospitals and at parishes. To find an introductory session, visit stlouisnfp.org. The Office of Natural Family Planning is supported by the Annual Catholic Appeal.
The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is an original gift from God to humanity. Although sin entered the world damaging the marital relationship, this gift was not lost but redeemed by Christ and raised to a sacrament (Ephesians 5:28-32 and Matthew 19:4-6). Sacred Scripture also proclaims that God created humanity in “His image” as “male and female” (see Genesis 1:27). So unique is this relationship that the marital union makes of the husband and wife “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Procreation, Scripture teaches, is a gift from God (Genesis 1:28). When spouses conceive new life, they participate in the Lord God’s creative power.
At the annual Humanae Vitae Mass July 11 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson said that contraception, which is one of the cornerstones of the culture of death, leads souls away from the faith.
“If the soul and body are intimately connected as our everyday experience demonstrates, then actions of the body that are contrary to the faith, even if well intended, can simultaneously lead souls away from the faith,” he said. “It undermines the ability of married couples to live and to grow in the image and likeness of God, who invites them into the self-giving of Jesus in the Eucharist and on the cross.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church also notes that NFP methods “respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them and favor the education of an authentic freedom” (CCC, 2370).
Alli and Vince Coiro have a 19-month-old son, Louis, and are expecting their second child, another boy, in September. Alli Coiro studied nursing and philosophy as a student at Rockhurst University. During an internship with the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Ministry several years ago, she discerned how God might allow her to combine both of those interests — she found the answer through NFP. Alli Coiro currently is studying to become a Creighton Model FertilityCare System practitioner.
“It’s beautiful how God and the truth of our human nature is proven in science” through NFP methods such as Creighton Model, she said.
Celebrating NFP virtually
In honor of National NFP Awareness Week, the archdiocesan Office of Natural Family Planning will host online discussions with several experts on various aspects of NFP. The discussions will take place at 7 p.m. at the NFP Office’s Facebook page (stlnfp).
Monday, July 20: A Doctor’s Perspective, with Dr. Patrick Yeung
Tuesday, July 21: Teen Tuesday and the Wonder of Eve, with Erin Herdler
Wednesday, July 22: Enkindle Wednesday and Infertility with Donna Whitely
Thursday, July 23: Answer the Seminarians, in which participants are encouraged to share NFP experiences with seminarian panelists
Friday, July 24: NFP and the Priesthood, with Father Charles Samson
For more information on Natural Family Planning, contact the Office of NFP at (314) 997-7576 or visit www.stlouisnfp.org.