The Office of Natural Family Planning at the Diocese of Phoenix has announced plans for a new ministry to serve couples in the season of infertility establishing St. Gerard’s Outreach Ministry.

Since 2013, couples who are struggling through infertility have gathered each May for the annual St. Gerard’s Mass to pray together and support each other. The Office of Natural Family Planning, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, is launching an outreach initiative aimed at serving them and their pastors throughout the year.

“It is our hope to provide information, referrals and training to parishes who wish to better minister to their parishioner couples struggling through a season of infertility.  It will become this ministry’s mission to raise awareness about the difficult and heavy cross that couples go through,” said Armida Escarcega, diocesan coordinator of the Office of Natural Family Planning. “Infertility can be a heavy cross, one which is made all the more difficult when the couples feel that they are alone. We aim to change that”.

Plans also include changing the St. Gerard’s Mass into a yearly retreat for couples who want to come and place this burden at the feet of our Lord and our Lady, a day for recollection and peace.

The inaugural event is the first diocesan-led retreat for those struggling with infertility.  “Cherished” is being sponsored by the newly-named St. Gerard’s Outreach, and led by Springs in the Desert, a Catholic infertility ministry to couples in this state of life.  It will be held Saturday, May 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mount Claret Retreat Center in Phoenix, ending with a special Sunday vigil Mass.

For more information or to register for the retreat, please visit or call the NFP Office at 602-354-2122.

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