University names Fr. Gregory Boyle as 2017 Laetare Medal recipient
Observer Staff Report | Friday, May 19, 2017
Editor’s Note: A version of this story was published on March 27.
The University announced Fr. Gregory J. Boyle, the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, as the 2017 recipient of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal in a press release March 26.
The Laetare medal is awarded annually by the University to an American Catholic figure “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity.”
According to the press release, Homeboy Industries — which Boyle founded in Los Angeles in 1988 — is “now the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world.” Each year, the organization helps 10,000 men and women who are struggling with violence and being cycled through the prison system to “develop the strength and skills to transform their lives and become contributing members of society.”
“At Homeboy, we try to hold up a mirror and say, ‘Here’s who you are; you’re exactly what God had in mind when he made you,’” Boyle said in the release. “Then you have this moment with people when they become that truth.”
University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release that Boyle’s decades of work made him an “inspiring” figure in the Catholic Church.
“For nearly 30 years, Father Boyle has served men and women who have been incarcerated and involved with gangs, and, in doing so, has helped them to discover the strength and hope necessary to transform their lives,” he said in the release. “Father Boyle’s solidarity with our sisters and brothers at the margins of society offers an inspiring model of faith in action. We are grateful for the witness of his life and honored to bestow this award on him.”
Boyle said in the press release that he is honored to receive the 2017 Laetare Medal.
“You want a university to be in the world what you invite the world to become,” he said. “Notre Dame is like that. It’s an honor to be recognized as the Laetare Medal recipient and I’m very grateful.”