Jesuit Priest Father Greg Boyle Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to gang rehabilitation. He is one of 19 recipients honored for their significant contributions to the US and the world.

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Jesuit Priest Father Greg Boyle Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Jesuit PriestFather Greg Boyle Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit Catholic priest and founder of Homeboy Industries, has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Joe Biden in a White House ceremony on Friday. Father Boyle is one of 19 recipients who will be honored for their significant contributions to the United States and the world.

Homeboy Industries, based in Los Angeles, is the world's largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program. Father Boyle founded the organization in the late 1980s, starting with a single bakery that taught former gang members job skills. Today, Homeboy Industries has expanded to include a range of social enterprises and services, providing training and support to thousands of individuals seeking to turn their lives around.

Why this matters: Father Boyle's work with Homeboy Industries has paved the way for innovative approaches to gang rehabilitation, demonstrating the importance of addressing the root causes of gang involvement and providing support for those seeking to leave gang life behind. His recognition with the Presidential Medal of Freedom highlights the need for continued investment in community-based programs that prioritize healing and rehabilitation over punishment and incarceration.

Father Boyle's approach to gang rehabilitation has shifted over the years from being job-centered to focusing on healing. "We moved from being job-centered to healing-centered... a healed gang member will never go back to prison. So, we have a confidence in that now. So, healing first, all the other stuff is secondary to people discovering the truth of who they are," he explained in a 2022 interview.

The impact of Father Boyle's work is evident in the lives of those he has helped. Actor Joseph Lucero, a former client of Homeboy Industries, credits the priest with saving his life, highlighting the unconditional love and support he received. "Father Greg saved my life," Lucero stated. "The hugs... They talk about unconditional love, but that is unconditional. It doesn't matter if you did something wrong or did something right. That hug is still the same."

In addition to Father Boyle, other notable recipients of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom include former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who describes herself as a devout Catholic, and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Katie Ledecky, who has spoken about the importance of her faith. The diverse group of honorees also includes politicians, civil rights activists, artists, and scientists.

Key Takeaways

  • Father Greg Boyle to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work with Homeboy Industries.
  • Homeboy Industries is the world's largest gang intervention and rehabilitation program.
  • Father Boyle's approach shifted from job-centered to healing-centered, prioritizing rehabilitation over punishment.
  • His work has helped thousands, with former clients crediting him with saving their lives.
  • Father Boyle is one of 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including Nancy Pelosi and Katie Ledecky.