Local Knights of Columbus have been instrumental in donating ultrasound machines to pregnancy centers in the Diocese of Cleveland.
The Knights of Columbus Council 16373 at St. Ladislas Parish in Westlake, K of C Council 16376 at St. Bernadette Parish in Westlake and the K of C Father Ragan Council 3269 in Avon-Avon Lake recently donated funds for additional ultrasound machines and a portable ultrasound device. The devices were blessed earlier this month and are in use. Another device was blessed last fall.
Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost traveled to Cornerstone Pregnancy Center in Elyria on Feb. 8 to bless a machine there. Several Knights, as well as employees, leadership and others connected to the center and the ultrasound project attended. Cornerstone was founded in 1986 and offers a variety of services, including speakers on the sanctity of human life.
According to Jack Archer, life director for the St. Bernadette Council, they raised nearly $12,000 -- about half of the local council share -- for the device. Archer credits the generosity of St. Bernadette parishioners for helping to finance the machine. The Father Ragan Council also contributed to the Cornerstone ultrasound device.
On Feb. 17, Bishop Edward Malesic toured the newly opened (Jan. 9) Veranova Health in Middleburg Heights to bless an ultrasound machine, a transvaginal device and a portable ultrasound that can be used outside of the office at events such as health screenings in the community.
(See photo gallery above for pictures from each event.)
Veranova, which means true and new, is a fully obstetrics/gynecology and family practice. Staff, led by Dr. Patrick Beeman, medical director, approach the pro-life mission in a unique way that goes beyond the services provided at a crisis pregnancy center, said Tim Jakubisin, president of Veranova’s board of directors.
As a full-service obstetrics and gynecology practice, he said they will use the donated ultrasound devices to diagnose underlying reproductive health conditions that could be preventing couples from conceiving. The staff also uses restorative reproductive medicine protocols to treat patients suffering from infertility and other reproductive health issues that impede the patient’s quality of life and they seek to educate young women about their bodies by offering cycle education.
“Veranova health providers offer medical care that follows the bioethical guidance of the Catholic Church, which is rooted in Scripture and reason,” Jakubisin said. “Specifically, the providers at Veranova are trained in deep understanding of women’s fertility. With the use of modern medical analysis methods, they can assist women not only through a healthy pregnancy, but also aid women and couples who are dealing with cycle irregularities and infertility. The staff of Veranova have a passion for couples trying to conceive and for assisting women to sustain a pregnancy,” he added.
Bishop Malesic told the Knights, staff and others gathered at Veranova that he spent three years as a biology major. “This machine (the ultrasound device) puts the best of science and life together. We use science to reveal what we know – that we are not just a clump of living cells. Something beautiful is happening … We’re not here by coincidence we are all here for a reason. God has a plan for every one of us. We are putting science and faith together here.”
Since 2009, the Knights have been saving the lives of the unborn with their ultrasound initiative, which provides ultrasound machines to qualified pro-life pregnancy centers. So far, more than 1,300 ultrasound machines have been placed into pregnancy centers across the country, including about a half-dozen in the Diocese of Cleveland.
Bud Tetzlaff, ultrasound initiative chair for K of C Council 16373, said the average cost of a machine is $30,000.
“At St. Ladislas Parish Council 16373, we are passionately continuing this mission in Northeast Ohio,” he said, noting they partnered with an Ohio-based ultrasound provider of new and refurbished equipment. When the Knights receive a request for a machine and the appropriate device is selected, it must be approved at the diocesan level. Once that occurs, fundraising begins. Tetzlaff said the council raises about half of the cost and the K of C Supreme Council matches the amount.
“As followers of Christ, we are all called to defend the right to life for children in their mother’s wombs as every life has value,” Bishop Malesic said, “It is a gift that no one has the right to disregard. I offer my endorsement to the work of the Knights of Columbus, St. Ladislas Council 16373, and their efforts to provide life-affirming ultrasound machines to pro-life pregnancy centers. This modern technology is crucial in helping touch the hearts of mothers and transform the decisions they make.”
“We humbly thank Bishop Malesic for his support,” Tetzlaff said.
For more information about the K of C ultrasound initiative or to donate, call 216-533-9754 or visit the online donation portal at donorbox.org/ultrasound-initiative-knights-of-columbus.