CCL Recognizes NFP Efforts in 2015

Cincinnati, Ohio — (June 21, 2016) — The Couple to Couple League (CCL) has announced the recipients of seven awards for outstanding efforts in promoting natural family planning during 2015.

Teaching couple John and Kristen Hamill of Broomfield, Colorado have received the Konald A. Prem Award, given for their outstanding teaching efforts. In addition to coordinating CCL’s busiest chapter (Denver), in 2015 John and Kristen were part of CCL’s NFP promotional video, and volunteered as the teaching couple for CCL’s new Self-paced Online Class. John and Kristen’s witness, personal appeal and casual teaching style have helped make the course an overwhelming success and an integral part of CCL’s NFP course line-up. Their gift of time and talent is making NFP accessible in areas that CCL could not reach before, both in the United States and abroad.

The St. Paul Evangelization Award has been given to two individuals for outstanding efforts to promote CCL and NFP in 2015. Teaching couple Patricia Turrentine organized a CCL teacher training seminar in November with 14 candidate teaching couples in San Francisco, an area not known for championing pro-life values.  Executive Director Mike Manhart praised Pat’s efforts: “Pat played a key role in making this event such a success. She and husband Bill prayed for couples to come forward for months and proactively reached out to many potential candidate couples by phone in the months leading up to the weekend. She also worked with parish and diocesan leaders who themselves got involved in inviting potential candidates.” Pat also worked the entire event from start to finish; she did the set-up, managed all hospitality and even babysit when one of the volunteers didn’t show up. Pat and Bill have taught NFP since 1984 and regularly present an NFP Intro talk for a neighboring parish’s marriage prep program.

Candidate teaching couple Lisa Neilsen of Midway City, Calif., also received the St. Paul Evangelization Award for her diligent work raising awareness for NFP in the Diocese of Orange. She started the “NFP in Orange” group that brings together various NFP providers and clergy to promote NFP throughout the diocese. Due in large part to Lisa’s efforts, Mike Manhart commented that “momentum and interest in NFP, with collaboration across the various NFP providers, is now at an all-time high in Orange.”

When the CCL board of directors held their meeting in Orange last November, Lisa organized an evening potluck dinner for board members to meet local volunteers. She also invited clergy so they could become more familiar with CCL. Lisa has also developed a great working relationship with the Family Life Director and is reaching out to other chapters in Southern California to begin recruiting for a future teacher training seminar.

The Holy Apostles Award for chapters who excel at working together to teach and promote NFP has been given to the Lansing Chapter for their great work in 2015. The chapter worked with the Diocese of Lansing on a number of events throughout the year including a women’s conference, Parenting for Purity with Jason Evert, a Theology of the Body Taskforce with Christopher West, and NFP intro and witness talks for Emmaus House. Members of the Lansing Chapter also made clergy visits a priority. In order to foster better communication among members, they increased their use of the Lansing Chapter Facebook Group, and the chapter recruited a chaplain to support them in prayer and celebrate Mass. In total, Lansing instructed over 100 couples in 2015, and during NFP Awareness Week they hosted a panel discussion about the different methods of NFP in an effort to increase collaboration among all area providers.

Retiring CCL Executive Director Michael D. Manhart, PhD, was honored with the Edward A. Keefe Award which recognizes work done for the medical or scientific advancement of NFP. During his tenure, Mike has been an essential team member of FACTS (Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Systems), and was lead author of a FACTS effectiveness study that was published in Osteopathic Family Physician, the official peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. This paper was selected by the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals (Creighton) for the 2013 Outstanding Research Paper Award. The Linacre Quarterly also published Mike’s significant analysis of NFP as a marriage requirement. Mike’s impact has been far-reaching, and he has given many lectures and presentations at the Catholic Medical Association, scientific seminars, prestigious colleges and institutions, and even internationally at the 2015 World Congress of NFP in Milan, Italy. Mike has enhanced CCL’s position in the scientific community in a way no other leader has done.

The Fr. Richard M. Hogan Award is given to those who have excelled in promoting NFP in the fields of theology, psychology, or related social science, and CCL has honored two recipients this year. Fr. Erik Pohlmeier of the Diocese of Little Rock has promoted NFP and CCL in a variety of ways for many years. In his new diocesan role as Director of Faith Formation and Permanent Diaconate Formation, Fr. Erik travels around Arkansas sharing information about NFP and CCL with his fellow clergymen. Within recent years, Fr. Erik worked closely with the Diocese of Little Rock to bring CCL’s classes to couples preparing for marriage. When the bishop implemented an NFP requirement, Fr. Erik took it upon himself to connect with and inspire a group of young married couples to become CCL instructors. His efforts to encourage and inspire them have made the Arkansas chapter a solid and dedicated community for NFP. He also serves as the chapter’s chaplain, and is concluding nine years of service on the CCL Board of Directors.

PopcaksThe second recipient of the Fr. Richard M. Hogan Award is a married couple — Dr. Gregory and Lisa Popcak. These Catholic media personalities have dedicated their careers to promoting the beauty of the Church’s teachings on marital love and NFP, and have found countless ways to support and guide couples in living out this sometimes difficult teaching. Specifically related to CCL, psychologist Greg has authored a column, “The Marriage Counselor,” in Family Foundations magazine for over 15 years, and readers consistently rank it as one of their favorite parts of the magazine. In the wider NFP community, Greg and Lisa are supporters of all methods and organizations, and regularly speak at Catholic events on marriage and family topics. Greg founded the Pastoral Solutions Institute, a tele-counseling practice that provides solutions for marriage and family issues that are consistent with the Catholic faith, they are best-selling authors on marriage and family topics, and a husband-wife radio team (most recently with More2Life) that often champions NFP while also helping couples navigate the difficulties that often accompany that choice. Greg and Lisa are tireless supporters, defenders and advocates for living out marriage according to God’s amazing design.

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With over 600 certified volunteer teaching couples, CCL is the largest provider of NFP services in the United States and its programs are approved under the U.S. bishops’ Standards for NFP. CCL provides a main NFP course, as well as postpartum and premenopause classes, in a classroom setting, through live online classes, and through a self-paced online class. To view currently scheduled classes, visit

To learn more about the CCL organization and the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP, visit

About CCL: The mission of the Couple to Couple League is to build joyful marriages by teaching Natural Family Planning, couple to couple.

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Ann Gundlach
Couple to Couple League
800-745-8252, ext. 3005