The life of Father Boniface Hardin, a leading African American Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Louisville, will be remembered in this year’s presentation by Christ the King Church’s Off-Broadway players.
The dinner play, entitled “The Call, The Answer, The Life of Father Boniface Hardin,” will be presented at 5 p.m. Oct. 28 at Christ the King Church, 724 S. 44th St. Tickets are $15. For reservations, call 587-8778.
According to a news release from the parish, the play will trace the life of the late Father Hardin, who was a native of Bardstown, Ky. His family moved to Louisville in 1942 and became members of the old St. Peter Claver Church. With the help of parishioners at St. Peter Claver, the Hardin family was able to meet the financial obligations for Father Hardin — then known as Randolf Hardin — to enter the Benedictine Order of priests.
He was ordained in 1959 and became associate pastor of Holy Angels Church in Indianapolis. It was in Indianapolis that Father Hardin founded the Martin Center in 1969 — the forerunner of Martin University — which had a mission to serve low-income, minority and adult students.
In 2010 — the Year for Priests — the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry presented Father Hardin with its Acacia Award, an honor that recognizes an individual for service to the African American community. In a news story about that award, which was presented at the annual African American Catholic Leadership Awards banquet, M. Annette Mandley-Turner, executive director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry, said Father Hardin was an inspirational figure.
“Father Hardin entered religious life when it was difficult for people of color to do so,” she explained. “He wanted to share his life, is stewardship with the world and the church.”
“Anytime you would talk with Father Boniface, he left you on a high with some charge that would propel you beyond who you are,” she said. “He was a real wholistic person.”
Father Hardin died March 24 in an Indianapolis nursing home. He was 78.