Posts Tagged ‘Homeboy Industries’

New Video Series on Jesuits and Their Vocations

Jesuits Revealed Videos


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Where does a Jesuit come from?

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.

Jesuit Led L.A. Anti-Gang Program Lays Off Most Employees

Father Gregory Boyle greets one of the many young men who offered support and comfort after he announced that most of Homeboy Industries' employees would be laid off. (Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times / May 13, 2010)

Father Gregory Boyle greets one of the many young men who offered support and comfort after he announced that most of Homeboy Industries' employees would be laid off. (Francine Orr, Los Angeles Times / May 13, 2010)

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The country’s largest anti-gang program, Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, has laid off most of its employees because of a decline in donations.

Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle, who started Homeboy Industries in the Boyle Heights neighborhood during the height of the city’s gang wars 20 years ago, said 300 people were laid off, including all senior staff and administrators.

The organization will continue to offer tattoo removal and counseling services but the silk-screening factory, landscaping company and other businesses where former rival gang members work side by side will be shut down. The Homegirl Cafe, which employs 100 people near downtown, will stay open.

The acclaimed anti-gang program ran into financial trouble last year when contributions dried up and government contracts were cut. For two decades, Homeboy Industries has offered counseling, removed tattoos and helped gang members find jobs. Its motto: “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

But Boyle said no amount of campaigning and fundraising could make up the roughly $5 million the organization needed to operate. He said pleas for donations had resulted in some help, but not nearly enough.

Boyle recently published a memoir about ministering with gang members entitled “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.” Read more about Homeboy Industries precarious financial situation via The Los Angeles Times.

To donate to help Homeboy Industries, please click here to be taken to their online donation page.You can also watch Boyle speak about the mission of Homeboy Industries in the video below:

Interfaith Voices Radio Program interviews Jesuit “Father G” on his Gang Program

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To his employees he’s known as “Father G,” “G-Dog” or simply “G.”  To everyone else he’s Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle, a white-bearded priest who runs the country’s largest intervention program for gang members.  Fr. Boyle’s new book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,  is a collection of stories and essays from 20 years of working with at-risk risk youth. Boyle was recently interviewed by the the nation’s leading religion news magazine on public radio, Interfaith Voices, about his new book and his vocation working with and helping the former gang members of Los Angeles that seek out ministry. Go here to listen to the radio interview.

Interfaith Voices Radio Program interviews Jesuit "Father G" on his Gang Program

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To his employees he’s known as “Father G,” “G-Dog” or simply “G.”  To everyone else he’s Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle, a white-bearded priest who runs the country’s largest intervention program for gang members.  Fr. Boyle’s new book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,  is a collection of stories and essays from 20 years of working with at-risk risk youth. Boyle was recently interviewed by the the nation’s leading religion news magazine on public radio, Interfaith Voices, about his new book and his vocation working with and helping the former gang members of Los Angeles that seek out ministry. Go here to listen to the radio interview.

Jesuit Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries puts Compassionate Pen to Paper

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For the last 20 years, Jesuit Father Greg Boyle has been writing the book that is his newly released memoir, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion”. For two decades, Fr. Boyle has been amassing a stupendously rich cache of stories about the homeboys and homegirls who one way or another found their way to his doorstep.  He told them in homily form in the dozens of jails, camps and juvenile halls where he celebrated mass on Saturday, embedded them in the speeches he gave to raise money for the jobs program that was the precursor for Homeboy Industries (which provides work experience, therapy and the opportunity for once-rival gang members to work side-by-side), unfurled them at panels, hearings and conferences where he tried to convince lawmakers and anyone else who’d listen that the young men and women whom his tales featured were worth much more than the worst things they had ever done and that they should never, ever be thrown away.

For each occasion, Boyle spins a narrative tapestry that includes one or two funny anecdotes laced with street vernacular and Spanglish, and at least one tale of redemption. Then, after entrancing his audience with an account of a kid’s courage and shattering vulnerability, Boyle delivers the gut-punch. “I told that story,” he would say, “three weeks later at his funeral.”

Read more about Fr. Boyle’s book here.