Record Staff Report
The 22nd annual Festival of Faiths, set for April 19 to 22, will center on the theme, “Compassion: Shining Like the Sun.” The theme is a reference to Thomas Merton’s celebrated epiphany at the corner of what are now Fourth Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard in downtown Louisville.
The Trappist monk and author famously wrote of his realization on that busy corner that he “loved all these people, that they were mine and I was theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. … If only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around, shining like the sun.”
The festival will include discussions, lectures, exhibits and other opportunities to examine the theme as it applies to the world today from the perspectives of various faith traditions.
“We Are Already One Religion and Compassion in World Affairs,” will be presented April 20 at 10 a.m. at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, 501 W. Main St. Former Ambassador Matthew Barzun, Karen Armstrong and Noah Feldman “will explore a vision for world affairs as if compassion were the primary driving motivator for global exchange,” according to a press release from organizers.
The session will be moderated by William Vendley, secretary general of Religions for Peace International. The program will consist of short presentations followed by a moderated discussion and time for questions and answers.
Another program called “The Science of Compassion” will be presented at the center April 21 at 10 a.m. This session will explore the “intersection of science and wisdom,” said the release.
Representatives of the Mind & Life Institute will share “key findings from 30 years of scientific research and inquiry into compassion,” the release said.
The festival also will include “Faces of Compassion,” a series of “video portraits that feature unsung Kentucky and Louisville heroes and organizations working on the front lines of compassion,” said the release. “With their acts of love and kindness, these individuals are changing their communities in big ways.” These video portraits can be found on YouTube.
Other festival events include:
- “Getting Real About Compassionate Cities” will take place April 19 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.
- “Compassion Shining: An Interfaith Celebration” will be on April 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St. This event is free and open to the public.
- “Compassion Jam: Music Improv and Comedy will be at the Kentucky Center for the Arts April 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The cost of individual events varies. Tickets are available at www.festivaloffaiths.org or by calling 584-7777.