The Archdiocese of Washington is also running a series, based on the Catechism, for this Year of Faith. They too have posted a tract on this topic, that might assist in viewing it through a different set of lenses.
The book of Genesis is a fruitful place to start our reflection. It recounts Gods creation of man in two stages. It says that, then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). This account portrays man as having two essential principles. He is formed from the dust of the ground, made of stuff like all animals are. But theres more he also has the breath of life blown into his nostrils. There is something higher in man than mere matter. Man also has a soul.
It is finally here that we see our likeness to God. Because of our soul we have the power to know and to love. Rocks and stones, trees and plants are only things. But because of our soul, the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something but someone (CCC 357). For, of all visible creatures only man is able to know and love his creator (CCC 356). This grounds all of the awesome abilities which human beings have of entering into communion with other persons, of responding to God in grace, and responding to God in faith and love (CCC 357). No other animal tells jokes, prays, gets married or writes poems. No other animal searches for happiness and meaning in life.
Breath of life actually means soul. Note that fresh formed flesh body was not alive until the 'breath of life' was breathed into the man's nostrils. And yet there is no account given by Moses of the formation/creation of the soul, only that it existed. And we can know the soul/spirit intellect exists before conception as by what we are told about the conception of Christ. That is why we know when 'life' begins in this flesh journey, at conception.