BY ISN STAFF | May 1, 2018
We’re not so much invited to declare our allegiance to a system of beliefs, but rather to a way of living, a way of loving—to a vision where we take seriously what Jesus took seriously—inclusion, nonviolence, unconditional loving kindness, and compassionate acceptance. There’s nobody in this room or outside of it who doesn’t know that that’s the “original program.” -Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J.
On April 17, 2018, ISN presented the Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice award to Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. for just this—for taking “seriously what Jesus took seriously.”
As founder of Homeboy Industries, Fr. Greg has committed his life’s work to providing hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women.
The Holstein Award, established in 2009, annually honors individuals who have demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
The award’s namesake, the late Robert (Bob) M. Holstein, was a former California Province Jesuit, labor lawyer, fierce advocate for social justice, and one of the founders of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice—the precursor to the Ignatian Solidarity Network. Previous honorees include Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University; Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J., Chancellor of Loyola University Chicago; Sr. Carol Keehan, D.C., President, Catholic Health Association; Rev. James L. Connor, S.J., former President, U.S. Jesuit Conference; and Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J., anti-death penalty activist.
At the event, Jose Aranello, a graduate of the Homeboy Industries job training program and current manager of trainees at Homeboy, spoke of the impact Fr. Greg has had on his life. He recounted a story of visiting a Washington, D.C. restaurant while traveling with Fr. Greg. He described the experience as one that, “along with countless experiences, helped to change the way I saw myself and how I saw myself in the world.”
Fr. Greg has been connected with the Holstein family for decades, and he spoke of Bob Holstein’s transformational way of living the world during his remarks.
“Bob wanted to dedicate himself to the ‘original program’—to creating anew all over again in a refreshing way, a new model,” he shared. “Where we dismantle the barriers that exclude and imagine the circle of compassion, and then together imagine no one standing outside that circle.”
In her prayer at the event, Ann Holmquist, vice president for mission at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, affirmed Fr. Greg’s work, drawing parallels between Bob Holstein’s life and the vision necessary to build Homeboy Industries: “[We] come together in honor of Greg Boyle…who said something has to change, and through love, and more love, a whole lot of showing up, and consistently opting to savor the world instead of trying to save it, built Homeboy Industries. Both a place and a mindset that is simultaneously a sanctuary and a place to go from.”
2018 Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award sponsors include (Loyola Circle) Betsy and Andy Ackerman and Loretta Holstein; (Xavier Circle) Jeanne Anderson-West and David West, Kate Carter and Ann Magovern, Girardi Keese, John Carroll University, and St. John’s Well Child & Family Center; (Arrupe Circle) Robyn and Vince Caponi, Very Rev. John Cecero S.J., USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus, Anthony Day, president at Loyola Blakefield High School, James Fitzpatrick, Rev. Michael J. Graham, S.J., president at Xavier University, Jennifer Bruch Hogan and Richard P. Hogan, Jr., Very Rev. Robert M. Hussey, S.J., Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, the Ignatian Solidarity Network Board of Directors, Very Rev. Scott Santarosa, S.J., Jesuits West, Bob and Jacqueline O’Donnell, and St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Catholic Church.
The vision still has its time and pushes onto fulfillment and it will not disappoint. And if it delays, we wait for it. -Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J.