Monday, June 18, 2012


(12-18 June, 2012)

1. Background

The centre Centro Akompanhamento Espiritual Do Verbo Divino is a spirituality centre for families as the founding formation of the human community. This centre was founded in 2009, three years before the foundation of the Timor Leste SVD Regio. The aim of the centre is to provide more support for the people’s faith development, especially for families who are experiencing disharmony, young couples who are preparing for marriages, and anyone who needs spiritual nourishment.

This spirituality centre is a realisation of and an answer to the invitation of the Congregation of the Divine Word for a Prophetic Dialog by dialoguing (in mission) with anyone whom we encounter. Therefore, this centre will have the following main programs: faith education, children and maternity health, counselling services for families, young people and others who are in need.

The vision of Centro Akompahamento Espiritual (CAS) is may the Kingdom of God which was proclaimed by Jesus Christ be experienced in the life of every person. This vision is specified further in the mission of: deepening the Christian faith within the life of the community, strengthening the relationship within families, resisting disharmony within families, and preparing the young people to build good families in the future, and sharing the mission’s animation with categorial groups.

This report will give the summary of the materials from the Study Tour which were presented by the referenced institutions, namely: Family Comissions from the Diocese of Malang and Surabaya, Graha Wacana Family Centre in Ledug (East-Java), and LPKK Malang. It will be concluded by some recommendation made upon the course.

2. Aim
The fundamental aim of the Study Tour was to gain knowledge from the Family Comissions from the Diocese of Malang and Surabaya, the Graha Wacana Family Centre in Ledug, and LPKK in Malang. This step was taken after the Comission realised that the personels of the Family Comission need to improve their knowledge in order to provide a professional and effective service in the effort of assisting families and young people. Hence, the Study Tour was made compulsory for the Family Comission’s Team of the SVD Regio Timor Leste as proposed in the yearly CAS brochure.

There were two basic elements in the Study Tour program, namely: methods of assistance and management system. The target of the first element was to study the effective methods which have been used by the participating comissions and institutions in their assistance service. The methods in use rightly determine the effectivity of any program. The second element was concerned about how the comissions manage their systems for delivering a service which is profesional and sustainable.

3. Input/Presented Materials
This study was divided into several parts: summary of the history and the development of Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) in Indonesia, general overview of the BOM and its mechanism, the use of KANA Magazine as media of communication for LPKK, the Family Comission of Malang and Surabaya Diocese, and the Family Centre Ledug. Each part will be described in the following sub-sections of this report.

3.1. Natural Family Planning (NFP) – Billings Ovulation Method (BOM)
In the book which was prepared by the Family Comission of the Diocese of Surbaya, by quoting WHO, NFP is defined as “a technique to plan or prevent pregnancy by a way of observing some natural signs which point to fertile and infertile periods in a menstruation cycle.”[1] Research has shown that NFP’s effectivity can reach 98% up to 100%.

It is worth noting that there are six methods of NFP which have been developed and used. Such methods include: Calendar Method (K. 0gino 1923 from Japan and H. Knaus 1929 from Austria), Temperature Method, Simpto-Termal Method, Billings Ovulation Method, Servical Sensing Method (Keefe Method), Lactation Method (Breast feeding Method). For the purpose of the Study Tour, only the Billings Ovulation method will be discussed in this report.

The first material presented in the Study Tour was the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM). The Study Tour group visited the main office of LPKK (Lembaga Pengembangan Kesejahateraan Keluarga) – Institute of Family Development, founded by P. Paul Klein, SVD, in Malang- East Java-Indonesia. Presenter: P. Paul Klein, SVD, Rosalia Ngatini, Carolina Citra Cithamustika and Praxedis Sadipun.

A Short History of the founding of the Billings Ovulation Method
The Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) was initiated and developed for the first time by an Australian Dr. John Billings. His initial interest in researching the method began when he was working as a counsellor for couples in his parish. Several things which were studied by the Billings are Signs or Symptoms in female’s fertility. In his research report, the Billings indicate the presence of mucus in the female’s cervix during ovulation period.

In1968, Dr John with his wife Dr. Evelyn Billings introduced their method outside Australia. “Billings Ovulation Method” (BOM) was accepted worldwide in 1978. Its acknowledgement coincided with the tenth anniversary of Humanae Vitae, for which a Conference was held in Melbourne, inviting public figures such as Mother Theresa of Calcuta. Indonesia sent 12 representatives, co-ordinated by P. Paul Klein, SVD, to participate in the conference when Dr. Billings’s BOM was internationally referred.

History of the Development of Natural Family Planning (NFP) in Indonesia
The publication of Humanae Vitae (1968) was considered too radical by the Indonesian Bishops Conference (MAWI). In 1968, MAWI published an apostolic letter as a response to Humanae Vitae. The apostolic letter contains the following core message:

Whenever a couple is confused because on one hand they needed to make a plan for their children’s births, but on the other hand could not do so by a complete abstinence or a periodical abstinence. In such a circumstance, they were being responsible, and thus do not need to feel sinful, if they used another method, so long as that method does not undermine the dignity of the wife nor the husband, does not oppose the nature of life, and is medically approved. (Article 6).
The Vatican through the Congregation of the Development of Faith strongly denounce the Apostolic Letter. The Congregation requested that MAWI would reconsider its apostolic message. In 1975, MAWI published another document called the Family Apostolic Guideline. The document specifically referred to the matters related to NFP in the following words: In order to create, reduce, or limit a pregnancy or birth, natural methods (based on the infertile periods) and their variances should be promoted and encouraged.” (Article 2). The Indonesian bishops approved the application of NFP in Indonesia in 1980.

Shortly after that, MAWI supported the promotion of BOM in Indonesia. Two years prior to the official approval, Indonesia had delegated a group of Priests and medical staff to attend the BOM Conference in Melbourne. The promotion of BOM began in 1980s.

Three key figures are rightly acknowledged as maestro of the success of BOM in Indonesia. Firstly, Fr. Petrus McLaughlin, OMI, who promoted BOM in Central Java (Cilacap and Yogyakarta) through “PUSMO” (Pusat Metode Ovulasi– Centre of Ovulation Method).Secondly, Sr.dr. Veronika Wonga, fmm, who founded PERDHAKI’sNFP Committeeand with her team promoted and spread the words about NFP as a new method in family planning to all branches of PERDHAKI in Indonesia. Thirdly,Fr. Paul Klein, SVD, who requested all Bishops of East Nusa Tenggara to promoted BOM in all parts of the East Nusa Tenggara region.Pater Paul’s persistence and hard work in promoting BOM is approved through his efforts in forming the NFP Teamwork, and also in establishing BOM centres such as WISMA NAZARETH (Nazareth House) in Maumere, Flores, and LPKK in Malang, East Java. According to the latest record, around 50.000 couples successfully applied Natural Family Planning during 1980-1990.

NFP faced acrisis’ of losing people’s interest in the 1990s. It was caused by the dropping of government funding and the lack of support by the government, as well as some ‘failure’ or‘resistance’ by the priests and bishops in supporting the realisation of the NFP program. The Dioceses of Malang and Surabaya are two dioceses which have been continuing to include NFP in the Dioceses’ marriage preparation programs.

After the crisis, an Information Centre for Billings Ovulation Method - Pusat Informasi Metode Ovulasi Billings (PUSIMOB)was founded. The foundation of PUSIMOB was based on the national approval of NFP in Indonesia on 28 December 1990. The success of the Malang-based centre has encouraged the Indonesian government to make it a National Infornation Centre on 1 April 2012, with the main objective being to promote (and refresh) the Family Planning programs in Indonesia.

[1] Family Comission of Surabaya Diocese 2010, Kami akan Menikah, Buku pegangan Kursus persiapan Perkawinan: Komisi Keluarga Keuskupan Surabaya, 47.
[2]Paul Klein & Team KBA, Keluarga Berencana Alamiah: Pusat Informasi Metode Ovulasi Billings; PUSIMOB MALANG, JAKARTA, MAUMERE), 15.

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