The Fruits of CCL in Hawaii

Written by Anne Marie Williams

You are no doubt aware that the Couple to Couple League method often leads naturally to family growth. But embracing the method’s emphasis on service and self-gift regularly yields fruitfulness, growth, and evangelization far beyond users’ immediate families, impacting whole communities and future generations. Here, is the first of a series of stories that explore the inevitable societal ripple effects that occur when married couples seek to pursue truth, beauty, and goodness in their sexuality.

Ed & Betty and Maile’s Story: Hamau I Loko

Ed and Betty Coda of Hawaii, together with their mentee and friend Maile Domingo, have experienced firsthand the abundant fruitfulness that can come from embracing natural family planning. Ed described their first contact with the Couple to Couple League at a convention in Chicago. A couple there had given the Codas a CCL book, which they “devoured on the plane ride home.” Ed and Betty were “absolutely amazed at how wonderful it was to have a temperature crosscheck” in addition to the cervical mucus observations they were already utilizing with varying degrees of success. They quickly began to share their newfound knowledge, telling their friends and family who were also struggling with family planning while using a mucus-only method.

While the Codas initially told others about CCL without any formal training in its Symptothermal Method, they were eventually connected with a priest who was a chaplain at a local military hospital. He paid for them to get to a CCL teacher training class in order to teach NFP classes at the hospital. Ed noted, “We really didn’t ever think we would be teaching NFP, but we got so excited about it that we were telling others about it even before we became certified.”

After their certification, the Codas’ work branched out in ever-widening circles. Betty said, “We started teaching in parishes, and then the diaconate formation invited us to talk, and then we talked to priest convocations.” Ed added, “And then we were invited to speak at Engaged Encounter, which is a requirement in our diocese.” The Codas went on to become the NFP coordinators for their whole diocese of Honolulu, in part through the support of a particular deacon who “loved that we taught about our religion in the classes.”

Ed laughed as he recalled that before any of their diocesan work, they were teaching NFP informally on the military bases “and then (to) people we knew,” and Betty added, “and then a lot of hippies were coming to our classes!” Teaching NFP became a means for evangelization, as “all of these friends of ours wanted to know about natural family planning, but we taught the class the way it’s supposed to (be taught), with all the Catholic teaching that was involved in it, and we never got any pushback or negativity. They were totally open to learning about it.”

We find that people are hungry for truth, beauty, and goodness in their lives; the elements that uphold human
dignity and build a culture of family. And we offer a way to discover that in our challenging classes.”

Through their diocesan work, the Codas met Maile Aiu Domingo, a native Hawaiian who had first been introduced to NFP at her own Engaged Encounter weekend during college in Arizona in 1994. Maile went on to attempt NFP on her own, but had only partial success in decoding the system until she discovered CCL co-founders John and Sheila Kippley’s book “The Art of Natural Family Planning.” Like the Codas before her, Maile was edified by its wisdom. “I devoured that book because it brought me biological knowledge of our shared fertility.” What she read in the book gave Maile “words that upheld the values my mom and dad demonstrated to us growing up. The dignity of the marital embrace was communicated to me and my siblings. The wisdom of NFP was the most astonishing discovery to us!” But because the particulars of mucus observations are difficult to learn purely from a book, she pursued the knowledge in CCL’s Family Foundations magazine; the sample charts in the back of each issue especially helped Maile learn “how to decipher the code of my body.”

When Maile and her husband moved back to Hawaii after having been trained in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) and (Pope St John Paul II’s) Theology of the Body, Maile reached out to CCL, seeking to make a local connection. In 2006, the Domingos met the Codas, and subsequently went on to become CCL ambassadors themselves. Eventually, the Domingos took over presenting NFP for the Engaged Encounter ministry. Around that time, the Codas were themselves becoming familiar with TOB, and together with the Domingos they began to incorporate TOB and NFP principles, “that mindset of the honor and dignity of your shared fertility” into events they hosted for whole families starting in 2007.

Large potlucks at the Domingo home drawing up to 80 people a week gained a formal structure with the founding of the Ha¯mau I Loko Foundation. “Ha¯mau I Loko” means “The Silence Within,” in reference to the voice of God that each person can hear within the silence of their heart. Founded in 2014 with a mission to “minister to the dignity of the human person through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and the Theology of the Body,” the Foundation is located in Honolulu on the island of O’ahu. Today, it hosts NFP, TOB, and CGS classes/ retreats for the Diocese, or any interested community in the islands.

Maile observed, “We find that people are hungry for truth, beauty, and goodness in their lives; the elements that uphold human dignity and build a culture of family. And we offer a way to discover that in our challenging classes. You can just observe the awe they feel in understanding the majesty with which they were made.” Ed stressed that the Foundation is all about “a process, not a (particular) program,” and about creating an environment where “people come to learn how to live.” Families who encounter the Foundation through its various offerings learn “to choose union, communion, family, and forever.”

Asked what’s next, the Codas and Maile shared that the now-adult children of families who attended the first potlucks in 2007 are stepping into leadership roles with the Foundation, expanding the reach of Ha¯mau I Loko. Maile envisions a beautiful retreat center where dignity education can thrive. Recently, Ed and Maile presented fertility awareness classes for the first time to high school girls in March and high school boys in May. The presentations were very well received, because the young men were empowered to know that their bodies are good, and that they can be intentional about their relationships. The young ladies were equipped with new biological knowledge because, as Maile quipped “An app doesn’t give them that understanding!”

After sharing about the couple’s blogging, the pending release of a revised edition of the Codas’ book Passionate Parent Passionate Couple, and the trio’s new podcast, Betty summed up the Foundation’s
attitude toward the future with the famous St. Joan of Arc quote: “I am not afraid. I was born to do this!”

Originally published in Family Foundations in September 2021.