We just learned that Dr. Erik Odeblad of Sweden died on October 17, 2019. Pictured on the right with Drs. John and Lyn Billings, Dr. Odeblad became a close friend and collaborator of the Billings over the years. Best known for his remarkable discoveries of the properties of cervical mucus, Dr. Odeblad leaves us a legacy of significant research that also includes the purpose of the Pockets of Shaw and their role in identifying Peak Day, among other discoveries. We will feature him in our November newsletter.
BOMA-USA Exhibit at Catholic Medical Association Conference Was Inspirational
By Martha Winn, RN, BOMA-USA Education Chair
The Catholic Medical Association (CMA) is a national organization providing support and education to the Catholic health professional. Presently there are 104 physician “guilds” across the country. The local guild helps the healthcare professional stay up-to-date about issues of health care in their community/state and to build a network of support.
The CMA conference this year took place in Nashville, TN at the beautiful Opryland Hotel. Close to 900 physicians, health professionals, medical students, residents, clergy, and religious attended to gain Continuing Medical Education credits, pray, and enjoy fellowship. BOMA-USA was represented by a table of information in the exhibitor’s hall in the Tennessee Ballroom. The BOMA-USA banner is attractive with the words, “Pure and Simple!”. During the conference, I was pleased to “spread the word” with brochures, books, and information. Equally rewarding was the opportunity to shake hands with the many friends and supporters of the Billings Ovulation Method®.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Physician, Heal Thyself: Living the Fulfilled Life in Medicine”. The theme is a timely topic. I spoke to professionals from varied disciplines who discussed recent trends in medicine. The Catholic Church’s teaching on life from conception to natural death is central to the practice of their medicine. Our culture is often rife with confusion on the issue of life. This conference offered sessions addressing the concerns of the healthcare professional who is battling these issues daily. The professional must take care of their own personal needs in order to take care of others, including spiritual care. Sacramental confession, Mass, and Adoration were a large part of the conference.
I gave a presentation for one of the breakout sessions. My talk was entitled, “Fertility Awareness Method Management Education in Medical Practices: Empowering Patients to Participate in Care/Simplifying the Office Visit”. I discussed how to incorporate the fertility awareness information in a practice with the use of certified teachers as an allied health team member. Proper education of the patient will save time during the 10-minute office visit and in many cases will allow a more effective treatment plan. I included statements from a survey of professionals who are currently including the education in their practice to demonstrate effectiveness.
My respect and admiration for the CMA has grown by attending the conference. It is an encouragement to see a growth of practices offering fertility education. Credit is given to the CMA for this trend. For more information, access their website, https://www.cathmed.org/
Billings Fellowship Hour
In an effort to give more value to our treasured members, and as a way to connect teachers and other members throughout the country, we are announcing our new Billings Fellowship Hour.
It will be a free, members-only Zoom meeting which can be accessed on a computer or other device through a simple internet link. We will encourage video participation so that we will be able to see each other, react, and ask questions. It should be great fun! The plan is to offer the special hour each month on varying days and times.
The first Billings Fellowship Hour will be on Sunday, October 27 at 7 pm Central Time. Fr. Joe Hattie, O.M.I. of Barry’s Bay, Ontario, Canada will be our first guest. Fr. Hattie is the Spiritual Director for WOOMB International. A longtime friend of Drs. John and Lyn Billings, Fr. Hattie was a frequent participant at WOOMB conferences in Australia over the years. He will discuss a document he wrote called, “Spiritual Direction for Billings Ovulation Method Teachers.” Participants will hear his fascinating advice on how the devil can tempt us with good things that others are capable of doing instead of us in order to keep us from our Billings work.
To register for the October 27 meeting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, please share with Sue any ideas for future guest speakers or topics, as well as suggestions for days of the week and times that you prefer to have the Fellowship Hour.
By Craig Turczynski, Ph.D.
BOMA is getting the word out! Over the last few weeks, we have attended the FACTS meeting, completed our first healthcare student training initiative, produced our first podcast, and recorded a marketing interview for Catholic Radio in Dallas.
Attending the FACTS meeting in Dallas on Oct. 12 was very valuable. Bernadette May, RN and I shared responsibility for our display table with Alana Newman. Alana is one of our certified teachers and the star of Springtime Production’s documentary “Sexual Revolution: 50 Years Since Humanae Vitae”. This film does a suburb job of profiling John and Evelyn Billings and we had it playing on screen at our booth. It is available on our website for sale. The booth traffic was very good, especially after Dr. Mary Martin gave her talk. We are grateful for how well Dr. Marguerite Duane balanced the presentations for all the methods, but we were especially proud of the final presentation given by Dr. Martin.
In collaboration with FACTS, we trained six healthcare students to teach the Billings Ovulation Method®. It was a combined effort by Martha Winn, RN, and Tony and Marianne Abadie. This was the first group to be trained as part of our Capital Campaign effort, for which we are actively fundraising. We are finalizing the way this training will be offered along with the budget and process for scholarships, which makes this first effort very helpful. Cooperation with other organizations is key to expanding our reach. If you would like to donate, click on the following link https://www.boma-usa.org/donate2.html.
Our very first “members-only” podcast was recorded and put on the website in October entitled “PCOS - Getting to the Root Cause”. You can access it on the new members resources page here https://www.boma-usa.org/401/login.php?redirect=/member-resources.html . It is password protected, so be sure to have your members password handy to access it. If you don’t remember what this is, please e-mail Sue Ek, Sue@BOMA-USA.org and she will provide this key requirement. We had the honor of interviewing Dr. Danielle Koestner, DO, about how she uses the Billings Ovulation Method® in her practice with a special emphasis on PCOS.
Finally, I got the opportunity to record an interview for Catholic Radio in Dallas. Our primary purpose is to get the word out about our health care student training effort and gain financial support. This will air as the KATH 910 AM “Interview of the Week” by Dave Palmer on Saturday, November 2nd beginning at approximately 3:30pm. It will also be on the Guadalupe Radio Network app after November 2nd, which can be found online at www.grnonline.com. You can also listen to it at your leisure by clicking on this link Craig Turczynski interview here.
Father Daniel McCaffrey, STD, (on the left) in Vietnam during the war in 1969
Q. Tell us something about yourself.
I was born in the Bronx, NY. I was raised in upper Manhattan and attended Catholic schools through high school.
Q. What inspired you to become a priest?
A number of things. My mother had two brothers who were priests in the Diocese of Buffalo, NY and the fact that I was an altar boy from the 7th grade through high school. So, I was associated with priests from my earliest years. To become one was my only ambition.
Q. Then, what happened?
I was accepted into the minor seminary at Providence College in Rhode Island. After that I went through the required studies and was ordained a priest in Washington, DC in June of 1958.
Q. Where were you first assigned?
I volunteered for the Pakistan Mission in 1959 and landed there on a liberty ship in December of the same year.
Q. How long were you in Pakistan?
All together about seven years. I was the pastor of a large parish in the port city of Karachi and was able to supervise the construction of a church and rectory while there.
Q. Where did you go after Pakistan?
In 1967, I came back home on leave with the hope of returning to Pakistan to teach at the regional seminary. So, I went off to study at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy and succeeded in receiving a Doctorate in Theology.
Q. Then what?
At that time the Vietnam Conflict was raging and our country was extremely short of Catholic chaplains. I felt it was my duty to volunteer in the United States Army Chaplain Corps.
After a year in Vietnam, I spent another nineteen years on active duty serving in Korea, Germany, and Honduras as well as numerous Army installations throughout the United States. I retired from active duty after 20 years.
Q. Where did you go then?
Archbishop Beltran of Oklahoma City welcomed me into his archdiocese and encouraged me to proclaim Humanae Vitae. I’ve been doing that ever since!
Q. It’s interesting you mention Humanae Vitae and its affirmation of responsible parenthood. Tell us more.
These issues have been front and center during my 61 years as a priest. I was just ordained when the birth control pill came out on the market. Almost everyone jumped on it as a great panacea. Pope Paul VI carefully studied its ramifications and finally declared it to be contraceptive. This ruling created a tremendous push-back that has continued to this very day.
Q. Why do you think the clergy has failed to preach on this matter?
I don’t want to judge, but the fact is they didn’t! Many excuses are put forth. Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia, in a 1998 pastoral letter, relates what a priest told him. “I’m a priest. If I preach about what’s wrong with contraceptives, I’ll lose people.” The archbishop responded, “If priests don’t preach the Church’s message about contraception, Heaven loses people.” Well said!
Some clergy excuse themselves from mentioning the subject from the pulpit for fear of scandalizing the children. However, I can tell you from experience that a homily may be delivered in an engaging manner without scandalizing anyone while at the same time giving a clear, well-reasoned doctrinal explanation. Father Matthew Habiger, OSB, PhD and I have put together a pamphlet “Getting Beyond I Can’t” enumerating eight excuses given by clergy for not preaching Humanae Vitae. I’ll send a copy free of charge to anyone requesting it by calling my office at 405-942-4084.
Q. What can be done now?
Well, whatever it is, it must be done quickly. Today we have an urgent life and death situation on our hands.
A bishop in Germany 30 years ago begged me never to stop preaching on this cancer of contraception that was eating away at the Church. I assured him I’d always do so. Unfortunately, today the cancer has metastasized beyond one’s imagination. It has brought our Church and country to near destruction. However, I know Our Risen Lord’s promise to His people will never fail.
Q. Could you be more specific?
Well, let me tell you what I did many years ago at St. Stephen’s Church in Midland, Texas. The bishop there asked me to fill in as administrator for seven months due to an emergency situation. This gave me a chance to test out a plan to implement NFP in a parish. So, I preached at all the weekend Masses in a loving, non-judgmental way inviting them to an introductory NFP session on Monday evening. A skilled NFP instructor from Austin and her husband drove up to teach it. One hundred parishioners showed up for the class! Almost all of them signed up for further instruction. So, I flew in two other teachers from El Paso on various weekends to teach the NFP classes in order to accommodate the parishioners while they were there attending Mass, including Saturday and Sunday evenings.
To make a long story short, at the end of my stay at St. Stephen’s, 43 couples were trained in the theology and methodology of Humanae Vitae & NFP.
It’s a very preachable message! However, it must be continually proclaimed by gentle, persistent preaching at least five times over the course of a year at all the weekend Masses. Topics to be discussed may include pornography, modesty, contraception, sterilization, IVF, abortion, etc. This is not asking too much since the Culture of Death is everywhere doing the work of Satan. But to be successful, it must be done by the local priests and deacons. Our people have not rejected this teaching. They have just not heard it proclaimed!
Q. What is the role of the NFP instructor in all of this?
More than you might think! An American diocesan bishop wrote to me not so long ago that he thought, “…the Lord was lifting up many faithful and articulate lay persons to be engaged in this vital work and wondered if the Holy Spirit wanted them to be the primary servants of this task.” He may be right!
Q. What can an NFP instructor do in a parish setting?
Plenty! To be successful at this, a church community needs at least one highly-trained NFP couple salaried by the parish. This couple would be a wonderful asset for RCIA, CCD, adult education, marriage and baptismal preparation programs. Bishop Peter Elliott of Melbourne, Australia says without this, a parish is not serious about the prophetic teaching of Pope Paul VI and his liberating message of life and love.
Q. Where do we go from here?
I welcome the opportunity to give parish missions. As I like to say, “Have chalice, will travel!” To learn more about the possibilities just go to our website: www.nfpoutreach.org.
Q. Any final thoughts?
President Teddy Roosevelt, a Presbyterian, told a group of mothers in 1905 that the country that buys into contraception commits national suicide – a prophesy coming true today. We have the saving truth, so let your light shine!
BOMA-USA provides education and training for The Billings Ovulation Method® which is a natural method of fertility management that teaches you to recognize the body's natural signs of fertility.