By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
PELLA – Annette Smith, RN, got choked up expressing appreciation to the Knights of Columbus for raising $24,000 for the purchase of an ultrasound machine for Pathways of Pella.
“The Knights are doing so much good work. Thank you for your heart for this ministry,” she said, just before Bishop Thomas Zinkula blessed the new ultrasound machine and all who were gathered April 19 to celebrate. Smith serves as nurse manager and will perform early detection ultrasounds.
Marilyn Van Mersbergen, executive director of Pathways of Pella, explained to Bishop Zinkula that the agency has been in existence for 22 years and has assisted 875 persons in that time. The facility has been expanded and, with the addition of the ultrasound machine, “we’ll be able to show moms that (image) really is a baby.”
She appreciates the tremendous support for the pro-life, nondenominational ministry that assists young people with sexual health issues and pregnancy issues by providing STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) testing, pregnancy testing and parenting support. “We want to show God’s love for everybody who comes through the door,” she said.
Knights of Columbus councils from Pella, Oskaloosa, Newton, Marshalltown, Albia and Grinnell raised the funds for the ultrasound machine with support from the state and national Knights of Columbus, said Brian Huddle. He chairs the culture of life committee for the Knights of Columbus Council at St. Mary Parish in Pella.
Huddle noted that Pella is a central location, with colleges located in several of the communities where KC councils raised funds for the ultrasound machine. A social media effort also is underway, to help guide college students in need of assistance toward Pathways of Pella.
In his blessing, Bishop Zinkula prayed: “Through the help of technology we cooperate with the Creator to improve our life on earth, and we are able to peer into the wonders of what God has made. Let us, therefore, bless God as we use this ultrasound machine for the good of those who come here seeking care. Let us never forget to offer praise to God, who is the true light and the fount of the water which springs up to eternal life.”
Father John Spiegel, pastor of St Mary parishes in Oskaloosa and Pella, and Deacon Lowell Van Wyk were among the 30 lay and clergy present for the blessing. The appreciative group sent Bishop Zinkula away with a gift basket of goodies for his birthday, including the renowned “Dutch Letters” pastry.