Catholic Heritage Lectures

This year, the Catholic Heritage Lectures explore the importance of spiritual practice in the advancement of the intellectual life, the building of resilience in the work of activism and advocacy, and the cultivation of joy when working on the margins.

Celebrating in the Ballroom of Kinship

Inspiring speaker and founder of Homeboy Industries, Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J. took Seattle by storm, May 8-10. 

Three decades ago, Father Boyle was pastor of Delores Mission in Los Angeles when he decided something urgently needed to done to address the violence of the gangs in his parish region.  Homeboys is now the largest, most successful gang intervention program in the country.

Fr. Greg Boyle lecturing at the Podium

The centerpiece of his life as a Jesuit priest and as director of these programs is his theological conviction that “we together nurture and help imagine a community in kinship such that God fact might recognize it as God’s dream come true.”  The community of kinship dwells “where everyone inhabits their own dignity and their own unshakeable goodness, and their own nobility.”  “Service is a doorway into the ballroom of kinship.”

Father Boyle has a marvelous knack for weaving profound insights with humorous, revealing stories.  For instance, the title of his newest book Barking to the Choir is taken from a conversation he had with a young man to whom he was giving some advice.  The young man protested, “Father G., you don’t need to tell me all that.  You’re just barking to the choir!”

In another incident he relates how Eric, a nineteen-year-old African American gang member who had been a trainee for a year, was giving a tour to visitors.  “As Father Greg always says,” Eric begins.  “Now when a homie starts a sentence this way,” Fr. Greg comments, “rest assured what follows will be something that I have never uttered in my life.”  Eric does not disappoint.  “. . . it’s not about work for the homie, it’s about the homie working on himself.”  Father Greg adds, “I’ve been quoting Eric ever since.”

Father Boyle develops an incredible relationship of trust and acceptance which is at the core of the success of the thousands of young men and women he has nurtured back to the fullness of their own human dignity.

Lucas Sharma, SJ at the podium while, Greg Boyle, SJ, and Pat Howell, SJ, sit on the stage

While he was at Seattle U, Father Boyle spoke a student lunch and a faculty/staff lunch; visited Father Peter Ely’s theology class; and gave a major, sold out lecture in Pigott Auditorium.  In addition, he spoke the night before at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in West Seattle and subsequently with the S.E.E.L. program (Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life) at St. Joseph’s parish.

In addition to his new book Barking to the Choir: the Power of Radical Kinship (2017), his earlier book Tattoos of the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion (2010) has also been a best seller.

Spiritual Practice and Working on the Margins from SeattleU ICTC on Vimeo.


2018-19 Catholic Heritage Lecture Keynotes

Andrew Prevot, PhD

Associate Professor of Systematic Theology

Boston College

Margi Pfeil, PhD

Notre Dame Theology Department and the Center for Social Concerns

Faculty Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

Greg Boyle

Founder of Homeboy Industries, Author of 2017 bestseller:

Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship