Each year the Diocese of St. Cloud calls for nominations for its Humanae Vitae Award — an honor given to a person who has exhibited extraordinary courage in promoting the teachings of the encyclical “Humanae Vitae.”
The document, written by Blessed Pope Paul VI and released in 1968, explains the Catholic Church’s teaching about human life, married love, responsible parenthood and natural family planning.
This year’s award recipient is Father Nicholas Landsberger, a retired priest who has served more than 55 years in the diocese.
“Father Nick does this in a most beautiful way,” said Sheila Reineke, who nominated him for the award. “He seems to simply trust that God’s plan is good and expects that others do the same. … His love of the Eucharist and understanding of God’s design for marriage allows him to gently guide couples toward self-giving love.”
When Reineke was preparing for marriage almost 30 years ago, she and her then fiancé, Vince, met with Father Landsberger, who was rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral at the time.
“I remember how gently Father Nick asked us about our plans for family planning,” Sheila recalled. “He was delighted when we told him that we planned to learn NFP.”
The couple married and later became an NFP mentor couple. Sheila, who is now the NFP program coordinator for the diocese, said Father Landsberger “loved and supported us, and baptized our children.”
Just prior to their second child’s birth, both the Reinekes and Father Landsberger were asked to be part of a video production project to promote NFP.
“He allowed taping during our son Tyler’s baptism in 1992 and was featured in one of the tapes in a series. The videotapes and DVDs have been used in many countries to help teach couples about NFP,” Sheila said.
Father Landsberger was ordained a priest on June 3, 1961.
“He has faithfully served Christ and his church for decades,” Sheila added. “There certainly were years when NFP was not at all popular. Father Nick had courage to proclaim the truth of ‘Humanae Vitae’ when it was released in 1968 and rejected by many of his contemporaries.”
Father Landsberger said he is grateful for the award.
“There are so many good priests who are doing the same thing I’ve been doing all these years, so I’ll take the award for them, too,” Father Landsberger said.