Father Greg Boyle Transforms Thanks into Action

Father Greg Boyle Transforms Thanks into Action

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By Farrah Ballou ’19
Archbishop Mitty High School

Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around giving thanks and recognizing the blessings in our lives. I believe that thanks is better expressed through actions than words. Thankfulness has two parts: recognition and action. We are called to give thanks for blessings, while simultaneously helping others attain a life that they can be thankful for.

Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, an institution in East Los Angeles that focuses on reintegrating ex-gang members into society, was the guest speaker at the Thanksgiving Liturgy this week and is one person who puts his thanks into actions and not just words. Years ago, he realized the increasing dangers and marginalization that was occurring in areas with gangs. Instead of just feeling guilty for his blessings and sad for these communities, he used his emotions to trigger action, leading to the creation of Home-boys. The nonprofit’s mission focuses on being in kinship with all people and that every person should be accounted for, respected, and loved. His dedication to service exemplifies that through work we can produce tangible change.

At Archbishop Mitty High School, every student is taught to give thanks by taking action. We are urged to find ways to change the harsh realities of world. We are grounded and constantly reminded of our numerous blessings, especially when seeing the brutal struggles that millions face every day. From Freshman Day of Service to Archbishop Mitty’s Advocacy Project, students are constantly working to make our community better, putting our thanks into action. Even the school’s recent Spirit Week focused on uniting the school with spirit, while also reminding students of the importance of giving back. During Spirit Week, classes competed with one another in a multitude of events to represent their school spirit. One of the activities was a competition to see which class would be the first to meet a donations goal for a local food bank. Even in times of competition, Archbishop Mitty reminds students to see past their bubbles of opportunities and encourages them to put their thanks back into the community.

Thanks in action is a simple idea—taking the blessings we have been given, recognizing them, and taking them a step further by showing our gratitude. This Thanksgiving, don’t just utter your thanks, but be like Father Greg Boyle and take action.