At the conclusion of Father Gregory’s theology studies, he spent a year living and working with poor Christian communities in Bolivia. Upon his return in 1986, he was appointed pastor of Dolores Mission Church, a Jesuit parish in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles. At the time, the church sat between two large public housing projects and amid the territories of local gangs. Boyle began working to create meaningful opportunities for the gang members and the community, and established Homeboy Industries, which was born in 1988. It is now the largest gang intervention, re-habilitation, and re-entry program in the United States, offering an “exit ramp” for those stuck in a cycle of violence and incarceration.
Father Greg is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. He has received numerous honorary degrees, awards and recognitions, including the Civic Medal of Honor, the California Peace Prize, Humanitarian of the Year from Bon Appetit Magazine, and in 2011, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. He has served on the State Commission for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, The National Youth Gang Center Board and the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Task Force.