Why does he join the Society of Jesus?
How does he know his calling?
The Jesuit Conference of the United States has launched a new video series interviewing Jesuits from across the country discussing their vocations, their various paths to becoming a Jesuit and what it has meant to them to answer God’s call. National Jesuit News will feature a new video interview each week. You can watch additional videos by going to the Jesuits Revealed channel on YouTube.
Today’s video features Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle speaking about his vocation as a Jesuit in the community of Los Angeles and what drew him to Jesuits. He is a Los Angeleno born to a third-generation Irish-American family. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1972 after graduating from Loyola High School and was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1984.
With a history of ministries to the poor in Los Angeles, Bolivia and Mexico, Fr. Boyle was missioned to Boyle Heights in 1986 where he served as pastor of Dolores Mission until 1992.
In 1988, Boyle created the “Jobs for a Future” program as a way to address the problems of gang violence in Boyle Heights. This program would evolve into Homeboy Bakery, launched in 1992, which sought to find solutions to the civil unrest in Los Angeles. Bringing rival gang members together to build a business that could provide job-training and an environment for personal growth, Homeboy Bakery proved that many gang members were eager to leave street life for a legitimate chance at a constructive future.
In 2001, Boyle launched Homeboy Industries which expanded the mission of the bakery enterprises including Homeboy Silkscreen, Homeboy/Homegirl Merchandise, Homegirl Cafe and Homeboy Maintenance.
Now more than two decades old, Boyle’s ministry is recognized as the largest gang-intervention program in the United States and a model for such ministry around the world. Unfortunately, the ministry has hit upon hard times with the economic crisis of the state of California impacting their funding. You can read additional stories about Father Greg Boyle and Homeboy industries in recent blog postings here on National Jesuit News.