Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries visits Crespi

By: Susana Capra
We were blessed to have Father Greg Boyle from Homeboy Industries speak to our student body and community last month. Over the summer our Freshman English classes read Father Boyle's book, Tattoos on the Heart and spent the first semester discussing the how the book influenced their idea of vulnerability, kindness and service. They were so thrilled to hear that our very own Principal, Dr. Liam Joyce, had worked with Father Greg for many years while teaching and being a part of Dolores Mission. Freshman English teacher, Nan Lehnert, shared the inspiration for choosing the book, "I was working on creating a new Freshman curriculum, where the theme focused on the subject of “Empathy.” Tattoos on the Heart was the first book that came to mind. With Tattoos on the Heart, not only could we discuss real stories, occurring short miles from our homes, with rich themes like empathy, compassion, kinship – but, also our new Freshman class, and our new principal, would have a starting point for conversation – Dolores Mission, Boyle Heights, Hollenbeck – compassion, kinship, empathy."
The book made such an impression on our students that they wished to meet Father Greg in person. With inspiration from Dr. Joyce and their teacher Mrs. Lehnert, the wish was made real and Father Greg came to visit us at Crespi. The Freshman class spent the week prior to his arrival fundraising for Father Greg’s nonprofit, Homeboy Industries in order to present him with a donation when he arrived.
It was with great excitement that we welcomed him onto campus. As Father Greg spoke, he shared stories from his time at Dolores Mission and how Homeboy Industries came to be. He imparted words of wisdom onto our students and community, that will surely stay with us and inspire us. He re-iterated to our students,"Crespi is not the place you go to, it is the place you come from, it always will be. You go from here and you stand with those whose dignity has been denied, whose burdens are to much to bear." We were so grateful for this powerful and moving experience. Click below to see what our Freshman had to say when asked, “What did Tattoos on the Heart teach you?”
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