New year brings focus to human dignity

Record Photo by Jessica Able
Mass-goers prayed the Our Father at the World Day for Migrants and Refugees Prayer Service at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth St., Sept. 25. The Archdiocese of Louisville will host “Days of Human Dignity,” a series of events in the coming months intended to uphold and promote the dignity of each person.

By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Promoting human dignity remains at the forefront as the Archdiocese of Louisville enters the new year with a diverse Days of Human Dignity schedule.

Days of Human Dignity — a collaborative effort between several offices in the archdiocese — is a series of events intended to uphold and promote the dignity of each person.

Each event helps to underscore “how important it is to consider human dignity in everything we do … in our prayer life, and how we attempt to live our lives,” said Mark Bouchard, who serves in Catholic Charities of Louisville’s department of mission advancement.

“We (the Catholic Church) stand for human dignity. Our attempts at that have been long known and we will continue to do that.”
This year the observance of National Migration Week, Jan. 5-11, kicks off the Days of Human Dignity.

The other events include a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the annual Walk for Life and the annual Memorial Mass for the Sanctity of Life, set for Jan. 19. Days of Human Dignity concludes with Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl Luncheon Feb. 12.

Ed Harpring who is the pro-life coordinator in the archdiocese’s Family Ministries Office said the month of January “calls to mind the dignity of the unborn” — the Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion is commemorated Jan. 22. It’s fitting then that the “Days of Human Dignity” initiative includes events that promote the dignity of the unborn.

“At this time of year, the Days of Human Dignity is just that … we’re defending and upholding the dignity of every human being from conception to natural death,” he said. “January calls to mind the unborn. We want to raise our voices to end abortion in this country.”

Harpring said it’s also important to “walk alongside women who are facing a crisis pregnancy.” He wants to make sure they know “the church is not just wagging a finger at them telling them not to have an abortion” but that the church is there to offer assistance.

Bouchard noted during a recent interview that the “Days of Human Dignity” initiative carries the “historical and traditional message of Catholic social teaching” — a series of seven principles that center on building a just society and living holy lives.

Bouchard and Harpring are members of the Days of Human Dignity committee, which meets several times during the year. Members, who represent a variety of agencies in the archdiocese, coordinate their work on human dignity through the committee.

Harpring said coming together with other colleagues creates a continuum that helps them to “see the big picture” and “keeps us focused on the issues.”

For more information on the Days of Human Dignity Initiative, visit

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