The four couples being interviewed for a diocesan DVD on natural family planning and fertility-care awareness kept mentioning the hidden blessings that such programs had brought to their marriage, including better communication and better teamwork.
So when it came time to come up with a title for the DVD, "Hidden Blessings: Natural Family Planning" was the natural choice, said Mary Dundas, coordinator of evangelization and sacramental catechesis for the diocese.
"These couples — they were excited about talking about it," said Dundas, noting that while some couples may consider natural family planning to be a limitation, those interviewed for the DVD saw it as a joy.
The 12-minute DVD has been posted in two parts to You Tube. The Department of Evangelization and Catechesis, the office for which Dundas’ works, also hopes in the future to be able to send copies of the DVD to each parish for use in marriage-preparation and adult faith-formation programs.
Couples who use natural family planning and fertility-care awareness programs learn scientific methods to observe natural signs and symptoms to become aware of their fertile and infertile periods. Pregnancies are achieved or avoided without the use of drugs, devices or surgical procedures.
Dundas said she has spoken with many couples who are very curious about the church’s teaching about natural family planning. In Pope John Paul II’s letter Evangelium Vitae, he calls married couples to responsible parenthood, lived in respect for the full truth of the conjugal act.
"We felt it was very important to put out a very positive local face on the use of natural family planning in this diocese," Dundas said.
The DVD features candid, unscripted and unrehearsed interviews with four local couples who use natural family planning. In the DVD, one couple shares their medical backgrounds and notes that one benefit of natural family planning is that there are no medicinal side effects. Another couple spoke about using natural family planning methods as they attempted to conceive.
"It was also a joy to put (the DVD) out there because of the personal witness of these four couples," Dundas said.
Couples who participated in the DVD were identified through local natural family planning groups. There are two main methods of natural family planning practiced in the Rochester area the Creighton Method and the Couple to Couple League sympto-thermal method.
Local natural family planning practitioners who watched the DVD were very pleased with the final product, said Noelle Pacer, a Rochester promoter for Couple to Couple League and a parishioner of St. Pius Tenth Church in Chili.
"We really hope it will generate a lot of interest," Pacer said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Details on the DVD are available at www.dor.org/ec/sacraments/familyplanning.htm or by calling Mary Dundas at 585-328-3228, ext. 1243, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Other contacts are: Anne Olek, Creighton Method Fertility Care practitioner, 585-387-9113; Noelle Pacer, a Rochester promoter of Couple to Couple League, 585-247-5973; David and Christina VanLieshout, Livonia-area teaching couple, Couple to Couple League, 585-346-3479; Michele Sheffield Eastman, Elmira-area Creighton Method Fertility Care practitioner, 607-737-7237; or visit www.ccli.org and www.fertilitycare.org.