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US President Joe Biden presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Fr Greg Boyle SJ at the White House in Washington on May 3 (OSV News/Evelyn Hockstein, Reuters)

A Jesuit who will visit Australia on a speaking tour in October has been awarded the United States’ highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Source: CNA.

Fr Greg Boyle SJ is the founder of a prominent ministry dedicated to rehabilitating gang-affiliated youth. Ordained a priest in 1984, Fr Boyle, founded Homeboy Industries in 1992 while pastor of Dolores Mission, a Catholic church and school in an area that at one time had one of the highest concentrations of gang activity in Los Angeles. 

Today, Homeboy Industries claims to be the largest gang-intervention program in the United States.

The ministry, which now operates nationwide, offers training and job skills to those formerly involved in gangs or in jail, as well as case management, tattoo removal, mental health and legal services and General Education Diploma (GED) completion.

While the group has said it is “not affiliated with any particular religion,” it also notes that many of its works are “in line with the Jesuit practice of social justice,” and Fr Boyle has said that the organisation does not seek to “downplay” its Catholic identity.

Fr Boyle described the ministry several years ago as “soaked with the Gospel.”

The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honour, is presented to individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public, or private endeavours.

Fr Boyle will visit Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Wollongong in October for the “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion” speaking tour for schools, parishes and Catholic agencies.  

Details: Tattoos on the Heart tour.


Biden awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jesuit priest for work with youth (By Jonah McKeown, CNA)