Archbishop Emeritus Roger Schwietz and representatives from the Knights of Columbus gathered at Commuinity Pregnancy Center (CPC) in Anchorage to bless the new ultrasound machine on Friday, January 24. Knights of Columbus councils in the Anchorage area raised money last fall to purchase a new ultrasound machine for the CPC. The machine has been in use since mid-October after the nurses received their initial training.
“We’re getting to proclaim life and introduce young babies to their parents,” said Mary Healy, Clinical Director of CPC in Anchorage. “That’s our goal: We want everybody to hear about Jesus.”
An image from an ultrasound was on the screen as people gathered in the room for the blessing. “The photo is of a baby just six weeks from conception. In real life, the baby is ¾ of an inch long,” Healy said.
Healy shared that images on CPC’s old machine were a bit fuzzy and now, “These ones are so clear. I saw a heartbeat on a baby that was three weeks and four days from conception.” She added, “We didn’t have the clarity before to be able to do that.”
Before the blessing of the ultrasound machine, Archbishop Emeritus Roger Schwietz said, “What the Lord has said to us is that the truth shall make you free.” The archbishop continued saying, “This machine, which is an invention of human beings, is probably one of the strongest weapons we have in the truth. So we thank God for that. We thank God for the Knights who are so dedicated to providing these machines. We pray that the Lord bless this machine and those who use it.”
Greg Monrad, Executive Director of CPC, thanked all involved for the donation of the machine. “The way I present our center is this: our number one weapon is prayer, and this is our number two, right here.”
Bill Fasser, with the Knights of Columbus from Holy Family Cathedral, shared how quickly the Knights were able to raise $15,000 for the machine and thanked the community for their support. “From the time that Greg approached us at the Knights in June of last year, we had the machine in and operational in September of the same year. The response was fantastic and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Fasser also shared how the Knight of Columbus initiative works. “The way the Ultrasound Initiative works on a national level is Supreme (Council) will donate half the cost of a new machine, so Greg and his staff said, okay, we’d like this machine, which was $30,000. We came up with $15,000 in just under two months. 81% of that came from Holy Family, my council.”
The Knights will be celebrating the donations of two more ultrasound machines later this year. “Homer got theirs delivered just last week to their clinic, so we will be heading down there for their blessing sometime in the next few weeks, and Juneau’s next on the list,” said Bill Chrisman, Secretary for the Alaska State Council Knights of Columbus, who made the trip from North Pole, Alaska to celebrate the blessing.
“We’re excited that Juneau came on board; that brought us up to 11 pregnancy centers in the state,” Monrad said. He added that he’s “had conversations with two other areas that are looking to open pregnancy centers,” and that its “exciting to see that God is calling people and putting this on their heart.”
The Community Pregnancy Center in Anchorage provides more than just ultrasounds. “When our young parents come for our parenting classes, they get ‘baby bucks,’ and they can shop in our store,” said Healy. “It’s a huge support for them; there are diapers and wipes, car seats and strollers, so much stuff in there they can earn by coming to classes.”
Last year CPC provided parents with 42,000 diapers, 71 car seats, and around 15,000 baby clothing items. For those wanting to support the pregnancy center with donations, a wish list including gently-used items and an Amazon shopping list is available online at cpcanchorage.com.
“We talk about our mission and our ministry,” said Monrad. “Our ministry is what we provide: it’s our pregnancy tests, our ultrasounds, and through all of that, our mission is to show Christ.” He concluded saying, “we can do all the screenings, give out 43,000 diapers next year, but if they don’t get that connection with Jesus, there’s no change in their life. We would only fix the temporary, but we want to change their lives.”