Manuel Valencia

Publication Date



Dolores Mission, Jesuits, Christology, Boyle Heights, Theology


Dolores Mission Church, located in Boyle Heights, is arguably the poorest parish in Los Angeles, California; and yet paradoxically, it is one of the most generous in the Archdiocese. This paper examines Dolores Mission, the Jesuits who shepherd this parish, and its people who, through their lives and ministry, continue the story of Jesus. Ministry begins inside this humble church where every evening, volunteers set up cots and blankets for homeless men and women. Over the years, the tight rows of cots have scarred and scraped straight lines along the church walls. “These scuff marks are evidence of ministry,” says Pastoral Associate Ellie Hidalgo. They also measure the Christology of Dolores Mission in its many ministries of charity and social justice in service to the people of God. This paper surveys the Christology and ecclesiology of this parish that is set amidst poverty. It reveals how aspects of liberation theology give a framework to the ministry of Dolores Mission, one that is biblically based, justice-oriented, and praxis-biased. It also highlights the ways that parishioners express their Christology through worship. In this work, I narrate the story of Dolores Mission in five movements: The Locus of Reflection, A Christology from Below, Liberation Theology, The Reign of God, and The Summing Up. These movements demonstrate how, in dramatic fashion, Dolores Mission puts skin on Christology, and how its parishioners work generously to build up the Kingdom of God.