Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Father Gregory Boyle’

Jesuit and His Gang Ministry Star in Documentary

G-DOG movie poster with Jesuit Father Greg Boyle and a homie“This is the story of a remarkable odd couple.” That’s the description of the new film “G-DOG” about Jesuit Father Greg Boyle and the former gang members, or homies, he’s served and befriended since 1992, when he founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

Homeboy Industries helps former gang members learn skills to better their lives and provides jobs in its bakery, café and t-shirt store.

“G-DOG” was directed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Freida Mock and had its U.S. debut this past June at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Mock says she was inspired to make the film after seeing Fr. Boyle’s book “Tattoos on the Heart.” She remembers thinking, “A priest, kids, gangs and love? What’s this all about?”

The film, which is slated for theatrical release next year, introduces audiences to Fr. Boyle and the homies he helps. It also depicts a tough year for Homeboy Industries, with the possibility that the businesses will have to close because of challenging economic times.

Variety’s review said, “In an era with a paucity of real heroes, a genuine one emerges in “G-Dog”: the inexhaustible Jesuit priest Greg Boyle, whose Homeboy Industries has saved countless lives in Los Angeles’ gang-plagued neighborhoods.”

For more, visit the film’s website, www.gdogthemovie.com, where you can meet the cast and view clips.

Jesuit’s Anti-Gang Program Debuts Snack Products at Supermarket Chain

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Jesuit Father Greg Boyle’s Homeboy Industries, an outreach program for gang members in Los Angeles, recently partnered with Ralphs grocery store chain to sell Homeboy chips and salsa. The products were the hottest-selling snack item at the 256 Ralphs deli sections across Southern California in early February.

Fr. Boyle said he was inspired by the late actor Paul Newman, whose “Newman’s Own” products funded nonprofit organizations. The products launched at Ralphs last month as part of an effort to revive Homeboy’s hard-hit finances.

“The aim is to expand the brand so that Homeboy becomes a household name and then a household idea,” said Boyle.

Proceeds go to funding Homeboy services such as tattoo removal and counseling.

“If we can increase revenue, we could fundraise less,” Boyle said.

Last year, Homeboy laid off about 330 people and nearly shut its doors when it couldn’t raise the $5 million needed to operate. Because of donations, “things have stabilized. We’ve brought back senior staff, about 100 jobs,” he said.

Read the full story on Boyle’s latest Homeboy venture at the Los Angeles Times.

Jesuit's Anti-Gang Program Debuts Snack Products at Supermarket Chain

Homeboy SalsaShare

Jesuit Father Greg Boyle’s Homeboy Industries, an outreach program for gang members in Los Angeles, recently partnered with Ralphs grocery store chain to sell Homeboy chips and salsa. The products were the hottest-selling snack item at the 256 Ralphs deli sections across Southern California in early February.

Fr. Boyle said he was inspired by the late actor Paul Newman, whose “Newman’s Own” products funded nonprofit organizations. The products launched at Ralphs last month as part of an effort to revive Homeboy’s hard-hit finances.

“The aim is to expand the brand so that Homeboy becomes a household name and then a household idea,” said Boyle.

Proceeds go to funding Homeboy services such as tattoo removal and counseling.

“If we can increase revenue, we could fundraise less,” Boyle said.

Last year, Homeboy laid off about 330 people and nearly shut its doors when it couldn’t raise the $5 million needed to operate. Because of donations, “things have stabilized. We’ve brought back senior staff, about 100 jobs,” he said.

Read the full story on Boyle’s latest Homeboy venture at the Los Angeles Times.

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: