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Dickinson Catholic Churches to host celebration of life festival Saturday

“Festival of Life” celebration will be held Saturday at Queen of Peace Catholic Church to commemorate the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson affirms that states have a constitutional right to protect life in the womb. Speakers will include Mike Lefor, Vicky Steiner and Tara Zettel.

Virgin Mary
The Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus Christ. The statue outside Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Dickinson is dedicated in honor of mothers everywhere.
Contributed / Queen of Peace Catholic Church
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DICKINSON — To commemorate the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 overturning of Roe vs Wade, in its landmark Dobbs vs Jackson decision, the four Catholic parishes of Dickinson will host a celebration of life festival from 5 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The event will kick off in the Trinity High School Auditorium with state and local leaders at the forefront of the Celebration of Life movement.

Joseph Stewart, a professor of history at the University of Mary in Bismarck, will offer a national perspective on the history of the defense of life in our country and how he compares it to the present movement related to abortions. State Representatives Mike Lefor and Vicky Steiner, R-Dickinson, will discuss the legal ramifications of North Dakota’s 2007 trigger law banning abortion, as well as the path forward in overcoming obstacles to its implementation.

Members of the North Dakota Right to Life organization gather in front of the Red River Women’s Clinic in downtown Fargo.
FNS File Photo

Tara Zettel, executive director of Connect Medical Clinic, will explain how the Western Edge community has been working together for decades to help guide young and less fortunate mothers through pregnancy and parenting, providing them with donation funded healthcare in the process.

Evening festivities will include fun for all ages with inflatable bounce houses, snow cones, cotton candy and face-painting in the parking lot at Queen of Peace Catholic Church. It will also feature a live folk band, a full meal with barbecue pulled pork and adult beverages.


After this, read more community news
The Kind Hearts Project is hosting its signature event this Saturday, Sept. 24. The entire community is encouraged to attend, especially parents with young children.

Monsignor Thomas Richter, parish leader at Queen of Peace, said the Catholic parishes will present Connect Medical with a $5,000 check and a donation of 500 diapers.

“It’s important that they’re able to continue their great work here in Dickinson,” Richter said. “We put our money where our mouth is.”

He explained that the Vatican’s position in fierce opposition to abortion is about protecting the sanctity of human life and defending the defenseless. He said this will save mothers and fathers across America from the “regret and difficulties” that inevitably result from having an abortion.

"From the moment of conception and creation, every unborn baby is naturally endowed by God with all the same rights and dignity as any other human being," he argued. “The reason we have always held with great conviction and great clarity that abortion is bad for humanity, is because it takes an innocent human life.”

Richter added, “The difference between the born and unborn… or between an infant and a teenager — that is a difference in development, not a difference in dignity, not a difference in rights. So we've always felt that abortion is bad for any society, for any people because it it takes an innocent human life and that hurts us all.”

Lefor, a Queen of Peace parishioner and lifelong Catholic, said he’s thrilled to see the community of faith come together and rejoice "such a momentous time" in our nation’s history. He noted that he’s been to the March for Life in Washington D.C. multiple times and spoken with women who lamented their abortions. He described it as a life changing experience.

2684416+1210 Mike Lefor.jpg
Rep. Mike Lefor, R-Dickinson
Dickinson Press file photo

“It's a heartwarming day. Because to me, an abortion is something that is absolutely horrendous and shouldn't happen in this country, or anywhere for that matter,” Lefor said. “I am also hopeful and praying that people who support abortion will come around to the realization that, you're basically killing a human being and that there are alternatives such as adoption or having family members help raise the child.”

Lefor praised the dedication of leaders like Nellie Gray, who organized the first March for Life rally in 1974 — the year after Roe vs Wade was decided.


“One thing that people need to understand too is those of us in the pro-life movement will never stop fighting. So that that will never happen, that we would give up and think that this is something that's acceptable in this country,” he said.

North Dakota's abortion ban is set to go into effect on Aug. 26. Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick ruled that North Dakota Attorney General Drew Wrigley was premature in setting a July 28 closing date.

A temporary restraining order has been placed in effect to give the Fargo clinic additional time needed to transition their facilities to Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion remains legal.

Other stories by Jason O'Day
The annual Dickinson Food Truck Rodeo will be hosted at an all new location this year, in conjunction with a Farmer’s Market and other foodie opportunities.

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
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