NOTRE DAME, Ind. (CNS) – Jesuit Father Greg Boyle, who started a social enterprise in Los Angeles. Calif., to help young people avert a life of gangs, drug abuse and street violence, will receive the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal.
Father Boyle, 62, founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, will be honored during commencement ceremonies at the university May 21.
“For nearly 30 years, Father Boyle has served men and women who have been incarcerated and involved with gangs, and, in doing so, has helped them to discover the strength and hope necessary to transform their lives,” Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, university president, said in a statement.
“Father Boyle’s solidarity with our sisters and brothers at the margins of society offers an inspiring model of faith in action. We are grateful for the witness of his life and honored to bestow this award on him,” Father Jenkins added.
The Jesuit priest expressed gratitude for being named the recipient of the award after it was announced by the university on March 26.
Homeboy Industries was started in 1988 in response to gang violence and the toll it was taking on young people in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, where Father Boyle was serving as pastor. Father Boyle, the parish and community leaders worked to develop social enterprises and alternative opportunities for young people seeking legitimate employment.