Homeboy Industries Reboots The Lives Of Tattooed Former Gangbangers, And Even One CEO

04/16/2012 08:34 pm ET

One Sunday late last summer, just after Mass, Father Gregory Boyle took a drive through Boyle Heights, the East Los Angeles neighborhood where he has lived for 26 years. That they share a name, the priest and his neighborhood, is a coincidence. Word simply came from the archdiocese one day that a parish in Boyle Heights, one of the poorest in L.A., was without a priest. On this day, though, it seemed fitting. People beamed when they saw Boyle’s old Toyota turn up their street. Families leaned out of their houses and waved. Alone, he was a parade. Tough young men rushed to the curb to rest tattooed forearms against his open window. "Mijo!" Boyle greeted them, slapping hands and bumping fists. Around the corner, a giant, faded mural stretched nearly half a city block. Painted a story high, beside an Aztec pyramid, were the solemn faces of César Chávez, Martin Luther King Jr., Emiliano Zapata, and a smiling Gregory Boyle.

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