Editor’s note: The following interview first appeared in the Life Line, the newsletter of the diocesan Office of Family/Respect Life Ministry.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been married to my high school sweetheart, Ben, for almost 7 years and we have three young kids, two boys (ages 5 and 3) and one little girl (15 months). Our family lives in Endwell, and we attend Church of the Holy Family. I grew up Protestant, and converted to the Catholic faith in 2012, a couple months before the birth of our first son.
What drew you to want to practice NFP?
A few months after we got married, some very close friends of ours had us over for dinner. They very casually told us that they practiced NFP, and explained what it was. I was very interested, and they let us borrow a book about it. I knew very soon after starting to read the book that it was something I could get behind, not just because of the natural side of it but also because of the theological teaching behind it, and my husband felt the same way. Our friends’ non-judgmental, positive approach to presenting it to us had a huge impact on me, and I hope that I can present it in a similar way to others.
What are your goals for strengthening the use of NFP in the Syracuse Diocese?
There are really three main goals. First, I hope that we can help to build a sense of community among current users of NFP in our diocese, and bring them together with this common bond. Practicing NFP can feel isolating at times for many people, because it is in many ways counter-cultural. But I think building that community will encourage people to stay the course and let them know that they are not alone, there is a beautiful community of believers surrounding them and praying for them and their family. Secondly, I would like to find ways to build awareness and further promote NFP within the Catholic churches, and eventually to the greater communities around them. I think NFP can be a tool for evangelization — I know it played a huge part in my conversion by opening me up to the idea that there was real beauty and wisdom in the Catholic Church. And lastly, I would love to see an increase in the number of teachers/instructors in our diocese.
How do you see NFP as a tool that can strengthen families and marriages?
NFP is an amazing tool for communication within a marriage. It provides a forum for couples to talk about their hopes, dreams, fears, and worries in regards to their family, and to continually have those “big conversations,” sometimes even on a monthly basis. Practicing being open to life is really like a spiritual discipline that requires a lot of faith and trust in God, that He will provide and He will make a way. And that attitude of trust in God can then carry over into every area of your life and your marriage. I truly believe that practicing NFP is a beautiful, tangible way to live out your faith in your day-to-day life, and although it comes with its challenges, it brings couples closer to each other and closer to God. It also is a beautiful witness to your children, that every human life is sacred and important to God, and that every baby is a blessing. When that belief is lived out, it can have a lasting effect on not just our families but also the world around us.
Contact Elizabeth Giordano at (315) 579-0069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.