Seminarian Education and Support

Seminarians of the Dioceses of Sacramento and Santa Rosa with Bishop Soto, during their CANFP weeklong program

CANFP supports seminarians in their preparation to counsel and guide couples and families on these vital aspects of marriage and family life. About a hundred seminarians in California have completed CANFP’s weeklong seminarian program: God’s Design for Married Love.

“Superb! Religion meets science!” High praise from  one seminarian upon completing CANFP’s week long immersion for clergy and seminarians in God’s Design for Married Love.

In collaboration with the Catholic (Arch)Dioceses of Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Rosa and San Francisco, CANFP conducted three separate programs for four dioceses (two collaborated on providing for their seminarians) in the course of the year. The response was gratifying, and it was such a rewarding experience and privilege to provide these spiritual leaders with the tools they need to effectively counsel and guide in these delicate, intimate,  and counter cultural issues.

The week long program developed by CANFP consists of a series of presentations from varied perspectives, represented by CANFP experts/members. The presentations are designed to provide a comprehensive and complementary overview of the scientific, medical, relational, theological, and pastoral perspective. Professional CANFP Members—Physicians, NFP Teachers, and Clergy—-present the expert information, and the lived experience is articulated from the heart by CANFP members who share their personal journey.

The program begins with an introduction to, and overview of, modern methods of NFP. Physicians provide presentations on the medical topics: modern contraceptive methods (their mechanisms of action, effectiveness, and side effects); the impact on women’s health of 50+ years of use of hormonal contraception; the superior and ethical therapies available to women to restore reproductive health through NaProTechnology; the concerns, ethical and otherwise, of assisted reproductive technologies; the use of Natural Family Planning to achieve a pregnancy, and as a foundation to evaluating and treating causes of infertility through NaProTechnogy.

Clergy experts present the  perennial teaching of  the Catholic Church and Christian tradition, and always a highlight of the week is the presentation by a pastor of his practical experience pastorally implementing these concepts in a parish setting.

Diocesan Family Life Directors contribute valuable professional insights and information on local resources and programs.

The personal testimony of those who use NFP is a valued contribution, and always a favorite, as witnessed by this seminarian “what most impacted me was the personal witness talks. It made everything truly palpable, real”.

We applaud these dioceses for recognizing the urgency and relevancy of these issues in our current cultural climate, the importance for couples and families, and the critical need to provide updates for clergy, and supplementary in depth formation for seminarians.

In surveying seminarians we have found among most a strong sense of the importance and relevancy of this topic for them in their future ministry. This program supports them in their desire to share the beauty of God’s design for love and life, providing not only encouragement, but the knowledge, pastoral skills, and resources they need to effectively communicate the message. Surveys following the program confirm across the board increase in knowledge of the issues, confidence in preaching and teaching it, and passion for prioritizing it. The most dramatic growth is reflected in increased knowledge of modern methods of NFP, confidence in the benefits NFP offers couples, and familiarity with the resources available to them.

CANFP is uniquely qualified to provide this service, with  members and a mission that see NFP from a varied and collaborative perspective.