LA street ministry priest visits Australia

American Jesuit Father Greg Boyle has spent 23 years working with gangs in Los Angeles’ wildest neighbourhoods.

Fr Boyle, or G to his homeboys, shrugs off having stared down the barrel of a gun many times: ”I never take it personally”.

He is in town as part of a tour funded by the Church’s evangelical office and will be giving a talk in Melbourne, Australia tonight, the Age reports.

The mission statement of Father Boyle’s charity, Homeboy Industries, is ”nothing stops a bullet like a job”. Gang members are brought off the streets or straight out of jail to work in one of several small Homeboy and Homegirl-branded businesses.

The T-shirt printing service is the only steady money-maker, Father Boyle said, bringing in $1 million a year. But they also run a bakery, a taco stand, a few cafes and a handyman service.

Homeboy Industries also runs a school, an anger management program and a tattoo removal service, offering to erase the traces of a gangster past. It nearly collapsed during the recession, but is “surviving”, the priest said.

FULL STORY

Father G: helping gangsters hustle for the greater good (The Age)

PHOTO CREDIT

Viva Vivanista (Wikipedia)