The Jesuit Retreat Center is so very grateful to Fr. Greg Boyle, the first presenter on July 15 in what hopefully will be an annual speaker event. The founder of Homeboys Industries, packed a full punch into a mere 20 minutes, making us laugh, making us cry but most importantly making us think.
Kudos to Fr. Chi Ngo, Executive Director of the Retreat Center, for giving a detailed State of the JRC address. By the way, JRC is doing well and is opened for in person retreats.
Fr. Greg encouraged the participants to Be Fearless for Me: Courage and the Gospel of the Marginalized, he made the salient point that in authentic Christianity never circles the wagons. It always widens the circle.
He illustrated this idea with Mario’s story.
Ask anyone at Homeboys who's the kindest, most gentle soul who works there, they'll say, Mario. He’s also the most tattooed. So, Fr. Greg takes Mario and another Homie a Gonzaga University for a weekend conference where in front of a crowd of one thousand people, he is asked what he wants for his children. He blurts out, "I just...", and he stops, and he retreats back to his microphone clutching terrified retreat, but he wants to get this whole sentence out. "I just don't want my kids to turn out to be like me." And there's silence, until the woman who asked the question stands, and now it's her turn to cry, and she says, " In his direction to Be Fearless for Me: Courage and the Gospel of the Marginalized, he made the salient point that in authentic Christianity never circles the wagons. It always widens the circle Why wouldn't you want your kids to turn out to be like you? You are loving, you are kind, you are gentle, you are wise. I hope your kids turn out to be like you." And a thousand total perfect strangers stand, and they will not stop clapping, and all Mario can do is hold his face in his hands, so overwhelmed with the emotion that this room full of people, strangers, had returned him to himself, and they were returned to themselves, and I think that's the only praise God has any interest in.
There are so many people who helped widen the circle by making this virtual event a reality. We are so grateful to our sponsors including our Benefactors:
Boscia Legal James Whitehead Jesuit Community at JRC Stephanie and Phil Gatto Lucrecia Torres Marilyn Slater The Sorci Family Foundation
Our Friend sponsors include Heritage Bank of Commerce, Liz Is All Biz, Inc, E. Jeffrey Banchero, and John Gardner & Kathy Woeber Gardner.
Our Supporters include A.M. Crawford, Inc., In Honor of Joseph Leung, Kim and Brian Manca, Knights of Columbus San Jose Chapter, Paul Angelo, Peninsula Havurah: A Group of Jewish Believers in Jesus, and the SCU Jesuit Community.
JRC Board Chair Kim Manca was a superb MC, and she led the event committee that included Andrea Crawford, Fr. Kevin Leidich and Fr. Chi.
Pooja Jain, the JRC Social Media Specialist, created a virtual tour of the Retreat Center, complete with background music.
By the way, Santa Clara University is widening the circle by offering China, Christianity, and the Dialogue of Civilizations, the 28th International Conference of the US-China Catholic Association this weekend.
Fr. Greg’s advice is helpful as we consider how to widen our own circles. Every community in the word has folks living at the edges. As long as you know inclusion is God that will propel you to put first things first.