February 7, 2020
by Christie McCullough
Deacon Pete Semich, James Rohr, and Jim Barnes were among those who volunteered for the St. Rose Knights of Columbus Council 4563 event to raise money to purchase an ultrasound machine for Portico, a crisis pregnancy support center in Murfreesboro.

As most people reflect back on their Super Bowl Sunday, they may think about the 10-point deficit that the Kansas City Chiefs overcame to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Or the half-time show people are still discussing on their social media feeds.
Father John Sims Baker, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church in Murfreesboro, recalls a different memory.
“Super Bowl Sunday was made a lot more flavorful in Murfreesboro by the Knights of Columbus at St. Rose,” he said. “The Knights smoked barbecue ribs as a fundraiser for a great cause: a new ultrasound machine for Portico, the crisis pregnancy support center in Murfreesboro.”
With the Knights of Columbus’ reputation for being able to combine family friendly fun with charitable fundraising, it was of little surprise that the Knights at St. Rose spearheaded this inaugural event, according to Father Baker. “The rib fundraiser is one more example of the way the Knights have of combining service with something fun and delicious,” Baker said.
As with all new fundraising efforts, the Knights were unsure how St. Rose parishioners would respond to the idea of having the Knights’ efforts featured as a main dish for their Super Bowl party menus. 
“With this being our first year, our goal was 150,” said Matt Owens, Family Director for the Knights Council 4563. “We pre-sold tickets for the ribs after Masses over two weekends. And the parish really came through. We were happy with the results, 185 racks.”
The ribs sale follows other efforts of Council 4563 to raise funds to purchase an ultrasound machine for area crisis pregnancy centers, often in conjunction with other area councils.
“Actually, this is the second year that we helped purchase an ultrasound,” Owens said.
Last year, the council at St. Rose led efforts to raise $25,000 for an ultrasound machine, and this year, the St. Rose Knights are contributing to an effort led by Council 9168 at St. Luke Church in Smyrna to raise $30,000 for another ultrasound machine, Owens said.
“So this and last year we used $5,000 in council funds to pay for them, $10,000 over two years,” Owens said.
“Our Supreme Council has a very successful program in which they will provide a matching grant of funds to local councils in support of purchasing ultrasound machines for pregnancy support centers,” Owens said. “This program has placed over 1,000 ultrasound machines into service since its beginning.
“An ultrasound machine can cost between $30,000 to $50,000 for each machine,” he added. “The program allows for local councils to raise and contribute 50 percent of the required funds and the Supreme Council will provide the matching 50 percent of funds for the purchase of the machine.”
The beneficiaries of the Knights’ generosity for 2020 is Portico, a pro-life pregnancy services organization located in Murfreesboro. Portico Executive Director Laura Messick praised the Knights at St. Rose and St. Luke and their ongoing contributions to her organization. 
“It is a tremendous tool for ministry and for life,” Messick said of the impact of an ultrasound machine on her clients’ lives. “Having the capacity to show clients the humanity of their child makes all of the difference in the world.”
In addition to the $2,400 raised from their Super Bowl Sunday smoked ribs sale, Owens said, the council sponsors other fundraising efforts to raise money for Portico.
“Each year around Mother’s Day, our council administers a baby bottle campaign for Portico,” he said. “Parishioners pick up a baby bottle from church and fill it with loose change, bills or a check and return to the church by Father’s Day, June 18. All monies received support Portico.
“The last total from 2019 for the baby bottle campaign was $9,000,” Owens said.
“On an annual basis, Portico has a major fundraising event that involves a dinner and a silent auction,” he added. “As independent local councils, we purchase tickets and send members (and their spouses) to participate in the dinner and auction. 
“Additionally, throughout the year, there will be additional smaller funding events such as a bowling night or something along those lines,” Owens said. “Many Knights are also independent donors on an annual basis directly to Portico. Other Knights volunteer their time by driving the RV Mobile Unit.”
Every penny parishioners contribute is important and works toward the purchase of this essential, yet expensive, piece of medical equipment, Owens said.

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