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Homeboys in L.A.

I first heard of Fr. Greg Boyle, SJwhen I wasa student. In one of my theology classes, we listened to ataped interview thatFr. Greghaddone on NPR about his work with thegangs of Los Angeles. I think we may have also read excerpts from his book "G-Dog and the Homeboys." I remember being struck by the work that Fr. Greg was doing and how powerful his story was,but I had actually forgotten about him untilthe other day.I was reminded of Fr. Greg, to be perfectlyand somewhat humiliatingly honest, when an episode of MTV's"True Life" caught my eye.The episode was titled "True Life: I live in the projects" and itprofiled three young people who lived in three different housing projects around the country. One young man had lived in the projects in East L.A. his whole life and was trying to break free. In order to stay on the straight and narrow, hewas working at "Homeboy Industries," the organization the Fr. Greg Boyle founded. This young man talked briefly about "Homeboy Industries"andits mission but Iremembered there being much moreto it.Fr. Gregfounded "Homeboy Industries" in 1992 and basedits mission off of the ideas ofliberation theology.It strives to helpformergang members in Los Angeles by providingjobs, jobtraining, counseling and tutoring services and it has been pretty successful thus far. "HomeboyIndustries" has extended into a line ofclothing, silkscreen andembroidery, a bakery, a cafe, and maintenance services. One of Fr.Greg's mottos is "Nothing stops a bullet like a job." "Homeboy" also provides tattoo removalservices for free inorder t0 help clients escape gang life and join the larger community."Homeboy Industries"is an ambitious operation but one that I think does a lot of good and I just wanted toshed a bit of light onFr. Greg Boyle's achievements.

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Would there were many like him, especially among our younger diocesan clergy.This kind of story is great Lenten reading to my perspective as it emulates (as we lead up to Holy Week) Phillipians instruction to have the mind of Christ "emptying Himself."

"Liberation theology"? I can't see how this differs from the work of the Salesians, which began with abandoned children in the industrial slums of Turin and continues around the world.

I think Mr. Austin must be joking. I guess that multiple clergy for years and years worked with poor imigranbts in thsi country. Liberation theology?I continue to beleive that our Church will suffer greiviously if it abandons the poor - and for many diocesans, the bottom line seems to be a more compelling consideration.

Ah, but is his theology orthodox? Is his mariology suspect? Does he adhere to the liturgical rubrics slavishly? Has he exhibited unquestioning loyalty to the Magisterium in all of its utterances, irrespective of content? How is his Latin? Does he own a cassock? These are the important characteristics of a loyal priest. All else is secondary.