Divine Mercy Care celebrates a generation of life

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The nonprofit faith-based healthcare organization Divine Mercy Care hosted a gala Nov. 8 at the Marriott Westfields Washington Dulles Hotel to support its medical practice, Tepeyac Family Center.

The gala honored the 20th anniversary of Tepeyac, founded by Dr. John and Carolyn Bruchalski in 1994. From humble beginnings, the Northern Virginia medical practice has grown to include five doctors, a certified physician assistant, a certified nurse midwife, registered and licensed nurses, certified staff, and partnerships with crisis pregnancy centers and the Gabriel Project of the Arlington Diocese.

The gala opened with a salute to veterans and a blessing by Father Paul D. Scalia, Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde's delegate for clergy, who was introduced by the master of ceremonies, Divine Mercy Care board member Edward Grogan. The event highlighted the three-pillar mission of Divine Mercy Care: believing that practicing medicine is an act of mercy, uniting social justice with the Scriptures and returning Christ to the center of the patient-doctor relationship. During the gala, founder John Bruchalski gave a personal account of how the Tepeyac staff members uphold those practices every day, citing the Romans 5 portrayal of suffering, perseverance and hope as aspects that healthcare professionals encounter as they work toward "this reunion of medicine and mercy."

Keynote speaker Susan Muskett of the National Right to Life Committee described the challenges that at-risk women with unintended pregnancies often experience, and how Tepeyac "welcomes with open arms and offers pregnancy care in a non-judgmental way."

"Is there any question that the Tepeyac doctors and staff are using their talents to serve God?" Muskett said.

Tepeyac doctors have delivered more than 10,000 babies over the past 20 years. Photographs of the babies and their families were shown on screens throughout the gala. In 2013 alone, the Tepeyac doctors delivered 106 babies whose mothers could not pay for medical services, 118 Medicaid-subsidized babies and 53 babies whose mothers paid through a sliding scale discount program for patients in financial need. The staff also has treated numerous other patients who needed gynecology and obstetrics services.

In order to support Tepeyac's work, the gala included live and silent auctions in addition to a special "hero" auction where individuals could help fund specific needs, such as perinatal hospice and ultrasound exams.

The Susan M. Torres Award, which recognizes a Tepeyac patient who has lived the "Gospel of life," was presented to Kathryn Doherty and her husband Paul Scolese. Doherty credits her successful delivery during her high-risk pregnancy to the Tepeyac doctors who supported her even though others in the medical field had recommended she abort.

Catherine Muskett and Andrea Pearson were presented with the Divine Mercy Care Award for their fundraiser "Run for the Unborn," a 5k run held annually on Labor Day at St. John the Apostle Church in Leesburg.

The gala raised $100,000 to support medical services to low income and underserved individuals, the future addition of Tepeyac staff and the renovation of their medical office.

"We (Tepeyac Family Center) are innkeepers," Bruchalski said, thanking donors for their ongoing support of the Divine Mercy Care mission to provide care to those who might not otherwise receive it.

"There's always room at our inn," he said.

Colegrove is a freelance writer.

For more information

Go to divinemercycare.org.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2014