THE COUPLE TO COUPLE LEAGUE IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND SLOVAKIA
David and Michaela (Mishka) Prentis (for more information visit their home page http://davidprentis.lpp.cz) a CCL volunteer teaching couple living in Scotland - David is English and Mishka Czech - after the so-called Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in November 1989, thought that it would be possible to translate the CCL teaching materials into Czech and start CCL's work in Czechoslovakia. Eventually, in August 1991, they were able to move to the industrial city of Kladno, 20 miles N.W. of the capital city of Prague. Their four children, aged 4 to 15, who already had a passive knowledge of Czech, soon adapted themselves to the new situation.
After translating basic texts and making contacts the first courses were taught in 1992 in West Slovakia and Moravia. The first volunteer teaching couples came from these courses. After the division of the country into the Czech and Slovak Republics on 1st January 1993, a separate organisation had for legal reasons to be established in each country, but the two CCL branches have continued to work together very closely on a practical level.
The 3rd English edition of The Art of Natural Family Planning by John and Sheila Kippley was translated into Czech and published in 1995 and in the same year the organisation was registered as a branch of CCL International. A bulletin NOVINY Z RODINY LPP (News from the CCL family) is sent out to members five times a year. Various leaflets were published successively in Czech and Slovak, a Czech translation of John Kippley's Marriage is for Keeps - a marriage preparation guide for engaged couples - was published in 2001 and a Slovak translation of Marilyn Shannon's Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition in 2003.
An annual weekend conference mainly for teaching couples, candidates and promoters is arranged alternately in Moravia and West Slovakia. It provides a welcome opportunity for sharing experiences, mutual encouragement and support and further instruction. For teaching couples who are often very much alone in their beliefs, even in a Catholic parish, and find it difficult to elicit understanding for the importance of their apostolate, the conference is a valuable opportunity for fellowship.
Developments in Slovakia
A decisive point in the development in Slovakia came when it became possible for the teaching couple Jozef and Simona Predac from Zlate Moravce in West Slovakia to devote themselves to the work full-time. Jozef was appointed by CCL Central as from August 2000 to lead the Slovak branch. He has expanded the work throughout Slovakia, so that the number of couples taught and the number of members have been steadily increasing. There are now 9 teaching couples (of whom 1 couple is currently resident in England) in this small country of 5 million inhabitants, 73% of whom are Catholic.
Change of Status
In September 2004 the new Board of CCL International changed its policy, granted autonomy to CCL branches which do not work in English or Spanish and at the same time ceased funding them. David, having reached retirement age, no longer needed financial support, but it has been necessary to seek alternative funding for the flourishing work in Slovakia. This means in practice raising $21,600 annually for Jozef’s salary. This is a low salary by Western standards and is only sufficient because of the weaker economic situation in Slovakia. For this very reason, however, it is not possible to raise sufficient money locally.
In connection with this we are especially grateful to John and Sheila Kippley, the founders of CCLI, who are sadly no longer able to work with CCLI. They have founded a new organisation, Natural Family Planning International, Inc.
(www.NFPandmore.org) and have raised the greater part of the necessary funds for Jozef's salary to date. Without their enthusiastic involvement the work could never have carried on as it has done.
A further effect of the change is that the Czech and Slovak organisations were no longer able to continue as branches of CCL International, and so have registered as charities in their respective countries according to local law.
When the original teaching materials were exhausted, Jozef produced a new manual (2005), workbook (2004), slides and teaching texts (2005-6). David and Mishka produced a Czech version of the manual and workbook in 2006 and an English translation in 2007.
David continues to train the Czech teaching couples and Jozef the Slovak ones. They mutually check each other's work and issue the certificates jointly.
How to Support our Work Financially
English NFP Manual
The Couple to Couple League International, Inc. (CCLI)
Natural Family International, Inc. (NFPI)
The Couple to Couple League in Europe