Letters to the Editor: We’ve seen enough. Declare Father Greg Boyle a saint now

A younger man in graduation attire hugs an older man with a white beard wearing a shirt with the Homeboy logo.
Jessi Fernandez, a onetime Homeboy Industries employee, hugs Father Greg Boyle before a celebration in Los Angeles on June 22.
(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: Even as a practicing Catholic, I don’t understand all of the ins-and-outs necessary to be canonized a saint of the church. I am aware that after a candidate’s death, at least two miracles need to be performed based on prayers to the individual.

Times reporter James Rainey’s extraordinary recounting of the life journey of Jessi Fernandez aptly demonstrates that the more important miracles are made during a saint’s lifetime. Father Greg Boyle performs miracles daily with his Homeboy ministries and his commitment to second, third and fourth chances.

Forget the dying part. Boyle deserves saintly proclamation now.

Kirk G. Willison, Vienna, Va.



To the editor: Any article about Homeboy and Boyle, who attended the same high school I did, attracts my attention. This one especially caught my eye since my maternal grandfather shared the same name as the protagonist — Jesus Fernandez.

Kudos to Jessi, as he is called, for his formidable achievement of graduating from UC Berkeley.

The article points out the important fact that no achievement is accomplished alone. Boyle’s encouragement and the support from mentors and teachers along the way kept Jessi going when he wanted to give up and maybe return to his old gang ways.

My work for the last 28 years has been to provide volunteer adult mentors to youth, many of whom come from the same background as Jessi. I have tritely said that our mentoring program is aimed at keeping youth out of the Homeboy program.

The need for volunteer adult mentors, especially men, is great. We have hundreds of young people, especially boys, on our waiting lists waiting for a mentor. Our hope is to pair underserved youth with a trained, caring adult to help them achieve their potential just as Jessi has.

Ken Martinet, Los Angeles


The writer is president and chief executive of Catholic Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Los Angeles County.


To the editor: Thank you so much for publishing two inspiring stories in Sunday’s print edition — that of Jessi Fernandez graduating from UC Berkeley, and, “She fantasized about torturing her daughter’s killer. Instead, she helped him.”

Rehabilitation is far more effective than punishment, as evidenced by the successes of Boyle and Homeboy Industries. And, Jill Harrison is a hero to even contemplate forgiving her daughter’s killer. But, I am reminded that when we forgive others, it’s like taking a weight off our own shoulders.

I would love to see a regular column dedicated to people turning their lives around and to those who support this transformation.

Nancy Shriver Dyer, Granada Hills