by Winston Chua
SAN GABRIEL – It was a night centered around a theme of standing with the poor, powerless and voiceless, those some in the community might be predisposed to simply dispose of. First there were talks by Church of Our Savior ministers Dennis Gibbs and Sister Greta Ronningen, who shared about COOS’s restorative justice PRISM ministries, specifically about the faith to sustain prisoners at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Southern California.
Sister Greta helps young girls who are born into poverty, domestic violence, unemployment, gang activity and prostitution. Both she and Gibbs work to give people a life centered in God, full of meaning and intention.
Gibbs, featured in a video to the audience, preceded a hearty, warm meal featuring Chocolate Chili (Chile Mole) and then was followed by the immensely popular Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries, who entertained a captivated crowd with poignant personal stories he told from memory to the San Gabriel crowd. He opened by sharing all the new texting lingo he has acquired from his staff (from BTW – by the way and OHN – “Oh Hell No”).
Father Boyle’s Homeboy Industries represents the largest gang intervention operation in the country. He and staff work to help people deal with anger management, grief and loss, tattoo removal and to restore the dignity of people who would otherwise face the challenging task of dismantling shame and disgrace on their own.
And before even all of this, COOS parishioners and guests received the opportunity to view and purchase storytelling silk screen masterpieces (with themes of spiritual transformation) by acclaimed artist John August Swanson.
————More on this story to come———————-
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