By Alyssa Jain
During Holy Week, several Archbishop Mitty High School students will take part in an annual immersion trip to Dolores Mission Parish in East Los Angeles. This 15-year-long tradition provides students with a unique opportunity to live out the values of Catholic Social Teaching and promote social justice.
There is no better place to embrace a focus on service than the Dolores Mission Parish. Despite being the poorest parish in the diocese, Dolores Mission is committed to responding to the spiritual, educational, and physical needs of the local community. The clergy and parishioners follow in Christ’s footsteps by serving the marginalized, including the homeless and former gang members.
This Easter Break, Archbishop Mitty students are joining parish staff in their efforts and will put faith into action by working with elementary school students at the parish school. At night, Monarchs will embrace humble living by sleeping in classrooms. Throughout the week, students will take part in the parish’s regular activities as well as Holy Week celebrations. Staying at the parish gives students a very different view of the same city.
The students will also help serve the homeless at the parish’s soup kitchen and will visit Father Greg Boyle’s Homeboy Industries to gain insight into the societal issues facing East LA and how the Church is addressing them. On Good Friday, students will join the parish to commemorate the stations of the cross by walking to sites throughout the neighborhood where people have been killed by gang violence.
For high school students, this trip is especially valuable because it demands that they leave their comfort zone and put their social justice education in action. Archbishop Mitty religious studies teacher Betsy Portillo, who has been a trip leader in the past, attests that helping the parish serve the East LA community provides students with a different perspective on the work that the Catholic Church is doing, particularly in marginalized communities. Indeed, the Dolores Mission trip gives students the opportunity to witness firsthand the conditions of LA’s most marginalized and to do their part to make a difference.