Father Boyle honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom

| May 30, 2024 | 0 Comments

LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL declared May 19 Father Greg Boyle Day with a proclamation on May 17, 2024.

By Suzan Filipek

Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries, a Windsor Square native, has been honored with the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Boyle, a Jesuit Catholic priest, was among 19 recipients saluted May 3 at the White House by President Biden.

The White House credited Boyle — founder of the world’s largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program — with turning around the lives of thousands of Angelenos.

Father Greg Boyle Day

Closer to home, on May 17 the city of Los Angeles declared May 19, 2024 Father Greg Boyle Day. The City Council issued a proclamation establishing the tribute in honor of Los Angeles’ most famous priest.

Boyle grew up on Norton Avenue, where he was one of eight siblings. He attended St. Brendan church and school and Loyola High School.

As a youth, he frequented Chevalier’s Books, he told us in 2018 during a book signing at the Larchmont Boulevard store. The event drew one of the largest crowds in the store’s then 78 years.

The Chevalier’s talk was focused on Father Boyle’s book, “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship,” which evolved from his work at Homeboy.

The book is a collection of stories, ideas and parables based on Boyle’s then 30 years of working with former gang members and their families. He’s written several books; the most recent, which he co-authored, is titled “Forgive Everyone Everything.”

Among his many awards, Boyle received the 2017 Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame, the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics.

Boyle, often called “Father G,” was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1984; he was set to head a student program at Santa Clara University when a trip to Bolivia, where he met the poorest people in the region, changed his course.

“The poor are trustworthy guides,” he told us in 2017, and “… as luck would have it, [the Los Angeles Archdiocese] needed a pastor at Dolores Mission, which was the poorest parish in the city.”

Dolores Mission was an area rife with warring gangs, and Boyle soon got to work.

Boyle and some business owners founded Homeboy Industries in Downtown Los Angeles in 1988.

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Category: People

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