Ellie Hidalgo has been serving the Dolores Mission faith community for the better part of a decade. In her new role as pastoral associate she supports Fr. Ted Gabrielli, pastor, by supervising the employees of the church and the school principal. She manages the overall church budget and development efforts and provides direction to parish ministries, communications and faith-based community organizing.
Prior to her work at Dolores Mission, Ellie worked as a staff writer for nine years for the Los Angeles archdiocesan newspaper The Tidings. She wrote news and feature stories with an emphasis on Hispanic ministry, restorative justice, youth ministry, and immigration reform. It was her ongoing interest in writing about innovative restorative justice efforts that led her to meet the Jesuits working at Dolores Mission and at Homeboy Industries and the extraordinary resident leaders of Boyle Heights.
Ellie’s interest in writing started in the third grade at St. Bridget’s when her class finished reading “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and she eagerly went home and wrote a page and a half imagining what happened next. Another favorite book, “Mickey Mouse Goes West,” foreshadowed her move to sunny Los Angeles from the snowy East Coast cities of Washington, DC and Philadelphia where she had lived prior.
But the beginning of the story took place in Atlanta, Georgia where Ellie was the first of five children born to her Cuban immigrant parents. The family’s search for the best arroz con pollo, vacafrita, and pan con lechón took them to Miami, Florida where she then graduated from St. Brendan High School. Ellie completed her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Pennsylvania and recently graduated with her Master’s in Pastoral Theology at Loyola Marymount University. She was commissioned as a Pastoral Associate by LA Archbishop Jose Gomez in November 2013 after completing the formation process through the office of Parish Life.
These days Ellie reads a lot about Ignatian spirituality and is passionate about Catholic school education for inner-city children. She also enjoys teaching classes and workshops in“Building Emotional Understanding” to immigrant parents raising U.S. born children. She believes that working with parents to build and sustain a life-long connection with their children is a key element in breaking the cycle of addictions, domestic violence and gang violence in the neighborhood. She also co-facilitates a support group for survivors of violence, mostly family members who have lost a loved one to gang violence. Dolores Mission is a place where restorative justice is lived out continuously by courageous families intent on creating a different future for their children.