I don't save people. God saves people. I can point them in the right direction. I can say, 'There's that door. I think if you walked through it, you'd be happier than you are.'

Don't forget, you are the hero of your own story.

It has become an accepted tenet that kids will rarely listen to their parents but seldom fail to imitate them. Communicating the message has never been a good substitute for 'showing up' and embodying the message.

We can't get at crime unless we know what language it speaks. Otherwise, we are just suppressing the cough, not curing the disease.

You prevent kids from joining gangs by offering after-school programs, sports, mentoring, and positive engagement with adults. You intervene with gang members by offering alternatives and employment to help redirect their lives. You deal with areas of high gang crime activity with real community policing. We know what works.

Richard Rohr is a theologian that I read.

Homeboy Industries has chosen to stand with the 'demonized' so that the demonizing will stop; it stands with the 'disposable' so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.

Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez - these are people whose thoughts are so important.

The church needs a pope who can call us to conversion and lead us to take seriously what Jesus did.

Our best selves tell us that 'there but for the grace of God... ' and that, in the end, there is no distance, really, between us and them. It is just us. Our best and noble hope is to imitate the God we believe in. The God who has abundant room in God's grief and heart for us all.

We need a pope to usher in a new era of inclusion, the end of a sinful clericalism, and a strong sense of duty to those on society's margins. The 1 billion faithful long for a leader who is fearless and driven - not by terror but by love.

When the vastness of God meets the restriction of our own humanity, words can't hold it. The best we can do is find the moments that rhyme with this expansive heart of God.

As a society, we come up lacking in many of the marks of compassion and wisdom by which we measure ourselves as civilized.

The idea that any law enforcement agency or person would ever know these gang members better than Homeboy Industries is impossible.

I want to be prophetic and take stands and stand with those on the margins, and I want to laugh as much as I can.

The poor evangelize you about what's important and what is the Gospel, and that that's where the joy is.

No kid is seeking anything when he joins a gang; he's always fleeing something. He's not being pulled; he's being pushed by the circumstances in which he finds himself.

The desire of God's heart is immeasurably larger than our imaginations can conjure.

We don't need a specialized gang unit. We need patrol officers who specialize in knowing their community.

Gang members aren't frightened into acceptable behavior by increased penalties, enhanced punishments, and the promise of new detention facilities.

Homeboy Bakery is an alternative to kids who have found themselves, regrettably, in gangs and want to redirect their lives.

I always have a funny story at communion time that underscores that no one is perfect, and that communion is not for perfect people but for hungry people.

I do believe in lessons learned. I have learned that you work with gang members and not with gangs; otherwise, you enforce the cohesion of gangs and supply them oxygen.

I know now that gang warfare is not the Middle East or Northern Ireland. There is violence in gang violence, but there is no conflict. It is not 'about something.' It is the language of the despondent and traumatized.

I'm the priest who has been mistaken for an ATM machine.

I didn't take my vows to the LAPD.

The arms of God reach to embrace, and somehow you feel yourself just outside God's fingertips.

I'm not opposed to success.

People have to see that there is a high degree of complexity about belonging to a gang. It's a symptom, not a problem.

You can't reason with gang violence: you can't talk to it, sit it at the table, and negotiate with it.

The business of second chances is everybody's business.

Gangs are bastions of conditional love, and one of the ways to counteract it is to offer community, which will always trump gang, and that's what happens at Homeboy Industries.

Anyone who knows gangs knows that lawmakers cannot conceive of a law that would lead a hard-core gang member to 'think twice.'

The wrong idea has taken root in the world. And the idea is this: there just might be lives out there that matter less than other lives.

Most citizens viewing the tape of Rodney G. King being beaten by police officers were stunned and uncomprehending. Most citizens, that is, but the urban poor.

We ought not to demonize a single gang member, and we ought not to romanticize a single gang.

I would hope that government officials have a healthy respect for the complexity of the gang problem. They should never lose sight of the fact that there are human beings involved. There is no single solution.

So complex are all the ingredients that cause gang membership that it seems virtually impossible to isolate one solution that can address them all and thereby manufacture a hope for the future upon which these kids can rely.

Reactive and proactive policing are both necessary. Still, we need to lower expectations that such efforts can ever be responsive to crime.

Relapse happens, especially when you're dealing with folks who are frankly the least likely to succeed based on their own pasts and difficulties. We can work with the most likely to succeed. I'm not interested in that.

The margins don't get erased by simply insisting that the powers-that-be erase them.

Jesus did not only serve the needs of the people, but truly hoped that the people and Jesus would be one.

If the Los Angeles Police Department had enough officers, it could focus on one part of the community and stay there long enough to know and respect the people the officers are called on to protect and serve.

We are among the handful of countries that has difficulty distinguishing juveniles from adults where crime is concerned. We are convinced that if a child commits an adult crime, that kid is magically transformed into an adult. Consequently, we try juveniles as adults.

We need the disruption of categories that lead us to abandon the difficult, the disagreeable, and the least likely to go very far.

At its best, an injunction creates a kind of vigilant heat that moves kids toward the light.

Delegations from all over the world visit Homeboy Industries and scratch their heads as we tell them of our difficulty in placing our people in jobs after their time with us. Americans' seeming refusal to believe in a person's ability to redeem himself strikes these folks as foreign indeed.

What is ultimately compelling for our children in helping them conjure images of a future for themselves is our willingness to walk with them as they do it.

I founded Homeboy Industries in 1988 after I buried my first young person killed in our streets because of gang violence.