DOWNEY - Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and author of the bestselling book "Tattoos on the Heart," will be the featured speaker April 13 when Gangs Out of Downey holds its annual fundraising luncheon at the Rio Hondo Event Center.Reservations are $50 per person or $500 for a table and includes lunch and speaker. Reservations are not yet available but will be taken soon. Boyle, best known as Father Greg, was born in Los Angeles, one of eight children. His father, a third-generation Irish-American, worked in the family-owned dairy in Los Angeles County and his mother worked to keep track of the large family. As a youth, Boyle and several of his siblings worked side-by-side with their father in the dairy. After graduating from Loyola High School in 1972, he entered the order of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was ordained a priest in 1984. He received his BA in English from Gonzaga University, an MA in English from Loyola Marymount University, a Master of Divinity from the Weston School of Theology, and a Sacred Theology Masters degree from the Jesuit School of Theology. Prior to 1986 he taught at Loyola High School and worked with Christian Base Communities in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He was appointed as pastor of Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1986 where he served through 1992. The following year he served as chaplain of the Islas Marias Penal Colony in Mexico and Folsom Prison before returning to Los Angeles and Dolores Mission. The year 2009 was the 25th anniversary of Boyle's ordination as a priest. Homeboy Industries traces its roots to Jobs For a Future, a program created by Boyle in 1988 at Dolores Mission parish. In an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Boyle and the community developed positive alternative, including establishing an elementary school, daycare program and finding legitimate employment for young people. The programs' success demonstrated the model followed today that many gang members are eager to leave the dangerous and destructive life on the streets.
********** Published: February 03, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 42