Diocesan NFP Program-National Profile
In December of 2002, 190 Profile questionnaires were mailed to dioceses. Ninety-three or 49 percent of the dioceses completed and returned questionnaires. As in previous years, the data indicates that certain aspects of NFP programs remain relatively unchanged with slight improvement in a few areas.
- There has been a recognition in dioceses of the need to have a person designated as the NFP coordinator. Often this responsibility is only one of many responsibilities performed by the person, e.g., Director of Marriage and Family Life. A growing trend shows that those responsible for coordinating NFP ministry (80 percent) have had some training in NFP methodology.
- Fifty-one percent of dioceses surveyed budgeted less than a $5,000 for NFP programs in 2002. Fifty-three percent of all NFP diocesan programs operate on less than $10,000 per year, while twenty-five percent have annual budgets of $10,000 to $29,000. Nineteen percent of dioceses spend from $30,000 to more than $70,000 for their NFP programs. Well funded diocesan NFP programs often rely on various forms of federal and state grants to supplement diocesan funding. In some dioceses NFP instruction is covered by insurance plans. In most dioceses NFP programs share funding, materials, and staff support of an umbrella department, e.g., Marriage and Family Life Office. Increasingly NFP is a specific line item for funding in diocesan budgets.
- The majority of diocesan marriage preparation programs make some effort to provide rudimentary NFP information to various groups, with special attention directed toward couples preparing for marriage, e.g., booklets, fact-sheets, witness couple talks and NFP course instruction. Through NFP introductory sessions more than 102,928 individuals received basic information on NFP. The time given to NFP is not lengthy; in 79 percent of Pre-Cana programs, it is less than one hour. Yet, there has been slight improvement in the amount of time given NFP in marriage preparation programs overall. A more thorough and substantive inclusion of NFP in educational programs about human sexuality and conjugal love remains a challenging goal, not only for marriage preparation but on every level of instruction. In some Pre-Cana programs NFP information is simply given to couples without discussion. Increasingly priests are requiring couples preparing for marriage to take a full course of NFP instruction. Nationally, only two dioceses require a full course of instruction in NFP in their marriage preparation guidelines.
- Across the nation, more than 11,052 individuals received a full course of instruction in NFP.
- The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) and Ovulation Method (OM) are the most preferred methods of NFP. Dioceses use a variety of national, regional and local NFP provider groups to train teachers.
- Forty-eight percent of diocesan NFP teachers are volunteers. Thirty-five percent of the dioceses provide stipends to volunteer teachers to cover personal costs, e.g., transportation, baby sitter, materials, etc.
- Among the dioceses who completed the survey, there are more than 1,375 NFP teachers across the nation. They represent a largely untapped resource for the teaching of human sexuality within a faith context.
Finally, the pastoral question that must be asked when examining each diocesan NFP effort is: Can couples who wish to be faithful to Church teaching on responsible parenthood readily get the NFP support they need? The answer to this question will determine how best to plan and support local diocesan NFP ministry.
Gratitude is extended to the following dioceses which provided data for the 2002 Profile survey
Albany; Altoona-Johnstown; Anchorage; Austin; Baltimore; Baton Rouge; Bismarck; Boston; Bridgeport; Burlington; Camden; Cheyenne; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbus; Corpus Christi; Covington; Crookston; Denver; Detroit; Dodge City; Dubuque; Duluth; Erie; Evansville; Fall River; Fort Worth; Fresno; Great Falls-Billings; Greensburg; Harrisburg; Hartford; Helena; Kalamazoo; Kansas City-St. Joseph; La Crosse; Lafayette, IN; Lake Charles; Lansing; Laredo; Las Cruces; Lexington; Little Rock; Los Angeles; Madison; Manchester; Marquette; Memphis; Metuchen; Nashville; New Orleans; New Ulm; New York; Norwich; Ogdensburg; Oklahoma City; Omaha; Orange; Orlando; Palm Beach; Pensacola-Tallahassee; Peoria; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, OR; Providence; Pueblo; Raleigh; Richmond; St. Augustine; St. Cloud; St. Louis; St. Paul and Minneapolis; St. Petersburg; Salina; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Diego; Santa Fe; Savannah; Scranton; Sioux City; Spokane; Springfield, IL; Superior; Toledo; Tucson; Tulsa; Washington, DC; Wichita; Yakima.
The following documents are useful in strengthening diocesan NFP programs.
Diocesan Plan for Natural Family Planning Program Development. Washington, D.C.: Diocesan Development Program for NFP, 1981. (Available from the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities; 1-202-541-3070.)
Standards for Diocesan NFP Ministry. Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops= Office of Publishing and Promotion Services, 2000. (Available from USCCB Publishing; 1-800-235-8722; #5-357.)
*The bishops of the USCCB Committee for Pro-Life Activities are most grateful to Rev. Robert R. Cannon, M.A., M.Th., J.C.L. of the Diocese of Venice, for preparing the 2002 Profile Report.
1) The (arch)diocesan NFP Program is: (Check one)
|69%||Part of the office of Marriage and Family Life|
|06%||A service of one of our Catholic hospital(s)|
|08%||Part of Catholic Charities|
|04%||Its own department|
2) Who is responsible for coordinating NFP Ministry (e.g., Family Life Director, NFP Coordinator, Respect Life Director, etc.)?
|39%||Diocesan NFP Coordinator|
|48%||Family Life Director|
|02%||Director of Catholic Charities|
|03%||Respect Life Director|
|08%||Other: Director of Christian Service, Department of Education, etc.|
2b) How long have you been the NFP coordinator?
The person responsible for coordinating NFP ministry has held the position for an average of eight years. The range is from less than a year to twenty years.
2c) No person designated: 0%
3) For this position, NFP work is: (Check one)
|45%||One aspect of other responsibilities|
4) Is the NFP coordinator trained in NFP methodology? (Check one)
|86% Yes||14% No||0% No Response|
5) If the answer to question (4) is "Yes," for which of the following roles was the NFP coordinator trained? (Check all that apply)
|56 Teacher||55 User||42 Promoter|
Those who have been teaching have taught for an average of thirteen years.
6) If you answered question (5), please indicate which school(s) of NFP trained the coordinator: (Check all that apply)
|32||Billings Ovulation Method Association (BOMA)|
|29||Couple to Couple League (CCL)|
|17||Creighton Model Fertility CareTM Center|
|19||Diocesan NFP Teacher Training Program|
|12||Northwest Family Services|
|08||Family of the Americas Foundation|
7) How many NFP teachers are part of the (arch)diocesan program? (Count teaching couples as two)
8) Which statement best describes the NFP program policy regarding remuneration of its teachers? (Check one)
|48%||Most of our NFP instructors are volunteers. We give them a stipend to cover expenses.|
|35%||Most of our NFP instructors are volunteers. We do not give them a stipend.|
|06%||We pay our NFP instructors (part and/or full time).|
|09%||Salaries/stipends for instructors are provided by other sources (e.g., Catholic Hospital, Knights of Columbus, etc.).|
9) Which organization trains the (arch)diocesan teachers? (Check all that apply)
|35||Billings Ovulation Method Association (BOMA)|
|58||Couple to Couple League (CCL)|
|41||Creighton Model Fertility CareTM Center|
|27||Diocesan Teacher Training program|
|05||Family of the Americas Foundation|
|15||Northwest Family Services|
10) Does the (arch)diocese have an NFP Advisory Committee?
|33% Yes||67% No|
11) Do you prepare an annual diocesan report on NFP ministry?
|48% Yes||50% No|
12) How much money was spent on (arch)diocesan NFP programming last year? (An estimate should include salaries, stipends, postage, materials, etc.)
|26% $1,000 - 4,999|
|11% $5 - 9,999|
|25% $10 - 29,999|
|05% $30 - 49,999|
|07% $50 - 69,999|
|02% No Response|
13) How much (arch)diocesan money was spent directly for NFP programming last year?
|26%||$1,000 - 4,999|
|16%||$5 - 9,999|
|13%||$10 - 29,999|
|11%||$30 - 49,999|
|06%||$50 - 69,999|
14) How much money generated by all NFP activities contributed to the NFP budget last year?15) Is there a separate fee for an introductory session? (Check one)
|31% Yes||69% No|
The average fee is $30.00. The amount varied from a low of $5.00 to a high of $40.00 depending on materials and length of an introductory session(s).
16) Do you charge a fee for a full course in NFP? (Check one)
17) If the answer to question (16) is "Yes", how is a separate fee determined for a full course in NFP? (Check one)
|19%||(Arch)diocese NFP determine fees|
|44%||Individual NFP provider determines fees|
|19%||Combination of (arch)diocesan staff and individual NFP provider determine fees|
18) How much is charged to clients/couples for a course in NFP? (If amounts vary, give average)
The average charged for a course in NFP is $75.00. The charge varied from a low of $0 and to a high of $540.00, depending on materials, length of course, and the number of follow-up services required.
19) Is a fee charged for follow-up? (Check one)
|20% Yes||74% No||05% No Response|
The average charged for a follow-up is $20.00. The amount varied from $0 to $40.00
20) Which NFP method(s) is currently taught in the (arch)diocesan program? (Check all that apply)
21) How many individuals (couples count as two) in the (arch)diocese received an introductory/promotional talk on NFP during the last twelve months?
More than 102,928 individuals received some information/instruction on NFP.
22) How many individuals (couples count as two) in the (arch)diocese attended NFP class/instruction during the last twelve months?
More than 11,052 individuals attended a class/instruction on NFP.
23) Does the (arch)diocese have guidelines for marriage preparation?
|92% Yes||04% No||04% No Response|
24) If the answer to question (23) was "Yes," is NFP included in the guidelines for marriage preparation?
|75% Yes||18% No||07% No Response|
25) On average how much time is allowed for NFP education in marriage preparation programs? (Give your best estimate)
|17%||5 minutes - 15 minutes|
|30%||20 minutes - 30 minutes|
|32%||35 minutes - 45 minutes|
|16%||1 hour - 2 hours+|
26) Does the (arch)diocese require an introductory session to NFP for the engaged? (Check one)
|28% Yes||70% No||02% No Response|
27) If the answer to question (26) is "Yes", what is the content of the required NFP introductory session? (Check all that apply)
28) If the answer to the question (26) is "Yes", how much time is allotted to your required NFP introductory session?
Note: A significant number of respondents (63) left the question unanswered.
29) Does the (arch)diocese require an NFP course for engaged couples? (Check one)
|03% Yes||97% No||0% No Response|