Catholic conference on fertility issues set for July 21-24

Catholic conference on fertility issues set for July 21-24 in Greenville.

Catholic conference on fertility issues set for July 21-24 in Greenville.GREENVILLE—Health care professionals, counselors and others interested in natural family planning will spend three days in the Upstate discussing developments in their fields, as well as cultural and moral trends affecting the family.

The 29th annual conference of the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Truth,” will be held in Greenville July 21-24.

AAFCP members include doctors, nurses, and others in the health care field that work with the Creighton Model of natural family planning, which was developed at Creighton University School of Medicine and the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction in Omaha, Neb.

The model is based on observing and charting biological markers that help a couple discover when they are fertile or infertile.

The conference will offer health care workers and clergy the most up to date information about developments in the Creighton Model, and other issues related to natural family planning.

While the conference will include technical medical discussions and certain sessions for doctors only, anyone is welcome to attend.

Kathy Schmugge, assistant director of the Office of Family Life for the diocese, said several of the talks include holistic approaches that showcase how marriage, family life and fertility issues are all connected.

Dr. Thomas Hiljers is one of the scheduled speakers. He is the developer of the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTechnology, a women’s health care system founded in Catholic teaching.

He said the event offers something for anyone who is interested in family planning and women’s health from a Catholic perspective.

“This is a really good and interesting conference because the academy is literally the only one of its kind in the world, and the presentations are at a very high level,” Hiljers said. “Most lay people could get quite a bit out of it. For professionals, the workshops address topics we deal with everyday in our work, because we’re all involved in this service of providing natural fertility regulation services.”

Art Bennett, director of Alpha and Omega Clinics in Virginia, will offer two sessions. One will focus on pornography and the effect it can have on a marriage, and the other will focus on how couples with different temperaments can work together to have a more effective relationship.

Bennett and his wife Lorraine have written two books on how people fit into the four classic temperaments — sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and choleric — and how these different traits influence personal relationships. He said his talk will focus on how spouses can accept each others’ temperaments and work together despite differences in the way they approach situations.

“We’ve found the temperaments to be a tremendous asset for both self awareness and self-understanding, and as a way to understand other people in our lives and where they’re coming from,” Bennett said in an interview with The Miscellany. “Knowing a person’s temperament can help you see that some of their responses aren’t intended to upset you, and they’re not being difficult. The temperaments aren’t claiming to identify your personality, but rather how you react to things. They help couples to develop mutual understanding, and to have more empathy for each other,” he said.

Dr. Martha Shuping, a psychiatrist based in North Carolina, will offer a session on supporting women who deal with psychological issues after pregnancy loss due to abortion or miscarriage.

Shuping said trauma caused by miscarriages is often overlooked in a world where more attention is given to women who have lost older children. She said women who have miscarriages also have different psychological side effects than women who are post-abortive.

She said she is encouraged because more Catholic parishes are realizing the need for ministry to women who have lost children to miscarriage.

Other featured speakers include:

Father Dwight Longenecker, who will discuss Christianity and today’s culture and the demographic winter, a session on how population changes are challenging the developed world and its culture.

Kathleen Merritt, director of the Office of Ethnic Ministries, will speak on grant writing.

Tami Kiser of Greenville, an author, professional organizer and motivational speaker, will discuss the “Smart Martha” approach to organizing priorities in life.

To learn more or to register, visit