Form your conscience in advance of the November election, with help from Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde.
Bishop blesses ultrasound machine
1st Choice in Leesburg is the recipient of a Knights of Columbus gift.
Dave Borowski | Catholic Herald
Dave Borowski | Catholic Herald
Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde poses with Knights of Columbus at 1st Choice Women's Health Center.

In January 2009, the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council initiated a program that provides matching funds to councils that raise money to purchase ultrasound machines. According to the Knights, a majority of women considering an abortion choose to have their baby after seeing an ultrasound image.

Last year, six Knights of Columbus parish councils in Virginia District 18 — St. Joseph in Herndon, St. John the Apostle in Leesburg, Our Lady of Hope in Potomac Falls, St. Theresa in Ashburn, Corpus Christi Mission in South Riding and St. Francis de Sales in Purdellville — joined to raise money to provide ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers in Loudoun and western Fairfax counties.

The 1st Choice Women’s Health Center in Leesburg was the first recipient and Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde visited the center to bless the ultrasound machine May 18.

“I’m very proud of the Knights,” said the bishop before the blessing. “(They are such) a powerful group of men in the church. I am grateful that the councils came together for this great effort.”

District deputy Dave Crew managed the purchase of the ultrasound machine, but he said there were many people responsible for the success of the program.

“It was a collaboration between the Knights, pastors and Lisa (Jacobsen, 1st Choice CEO),” said Crew.

Volunteers like Grand Knight Pete Sacripanti from St. Francis de Sales managed the financial aspect of the purchase. Corpus Christi Deputy Grand Knight Don Roessler handled the technical details with General Electric, the manufacturer.

But before the purchase could be made, money had to be raised. Last year, the Knights went out to parishes to ask for help at the second collection. District warden Andy Altman from Our Lady of Hope Church and Past Grand Knight Jim Marsan from St. Francis de Sales Church spoke at Masses around the area to ask for donations.

“People applauded,” Altman said about the talks.

The group raised more than $14,000, which was matched by the Supreme Council’s Culture of Life fund.

In a letter that accompanied the $14,065.50 check, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson wrote to Jacobson, “The Supreme Council is therefore pleased to partner with the Virginia District 18 in purchasing this powerful tool, which we hope and pray will save many lives through the good work of the 1st Choice Women’s Health Center.”

The Knights don’t plan to rest on their success.

“We hope to place three (ultrasound machines),” said Crew of the group’s future plans.

The ultrasound was in use several weeks before the blessing. Jacobsen said that 1st Choice had an older model that was large and cumbersome to use. The new one is laptop-based, more powerful and portable.

Altman said thousands of parishioners came together for this effort and the reason was simple — “the focus is on life.”

Sacripanti added that if anyone is unsure about when human life begins, an ultrasound would change that uncertainty.

“If there’s any doubt that (the fetus) is not a human being, it’s refuted,” he said.

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