July 26 is the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anna, the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and thus the grandparents of our Lord. Their family life, like that of the Holy Family, is a model for us all. Childless until a late age, Joachim and Anna nonetheless continued to put their trust in God—so much so, in fact, that tradition tells us that they dedicated Mary to His service in gratitude for the gift of a child. It is appropriate, therefore, that their feast day falls each year during NFP Awareness Week, when the Catholic Church in the United States not only attempts to educate Catholics (and other Christians) about the Church's teaching on remaining open to life but encourages them to cooperate in God's plan, as Joachim and Anna did.
(Statue of Saint Anne with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Saint Anne's Church, Mackinac Island, Michigan. Photo © Scott P. Richert)