Zoila Manzanares

The Rev. Zoila Manzanares was born in Santa Tecla, El Salvador in Central America. She grew up with her parents, three siblings and a large extended family in the low mountainous area of El Salvador. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering and worked as a quality control/production manager in El Salvador.

She is the first Salvadorian woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest and the first Latin woman to be ordained in the Diocese of Los Angeles. The Rev. Manzanares met the Episcopal Church early in her life in El Salvador and fell in love with the Anglican Church. After all these years, she still feels the same way about the Anglican Church - an ongoing love of the Church and its teachings.

After moving from El Salvador to the United States over 20 years ago, she became involved as a volunteer at St. Clements Episcopal Church in Huntington Park, Calif. and worked with Hispanic adolescents and school agers. Like all immigrants taking the first job they can find, she worked as a personal chauffeur/attendant and pizza delivery person. She is proud to be a citizen of the United States.

Her first salaried position was as a lay minister at St. Philips Episcopal Church in South Central Los Angeles working with the Hispanic community, the community food bank program and outreach to the Anglo and Hispanic community.

During that same time, she started the process toward priesthood. She enrolled in the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, and she graduated in 1994 with a Masters of Divinity. During her time in seminary, she worked as a chaplain at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin.

After graduation, she returned to Los Angeles to begin working as the rector’s assistant at Holy Faith Episcopal Church in Inglewood, Calif. Later in 1995, she was ordained as a deacon. At Holy Faith, the Rev. Manzanares' responsibilities included ministry to the Hispanic congregation, as well as planning and implementation of the youth and Christian education ministry.

In 1996, after being ordained as a Priest in the Diocese of Los Angeles, she worked in multicultural and bilingual parishes including the Mission Pueblo Nuevo and Trinity Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. Her responsibilities at Pueblo Nuevo included management of a thrift store and coordinating volunteer/community service programs. In addition to her thrift shop responsibilities, she ministered to the members of the congregation and coordinated various outreach programs in the community, which included working and playing basketball with the youth at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy near downtown Los Angeles.

In the year 2000, she traveled to Mexico City to participate in a class on Anglicanism through the Hispanic experience. Although her native language is Spanish, the Rev. Manzanares is fluent in English and has extensive experience preaching, teaching and ministering in both languages.

In addition to her role as a priest, she has traveled to Honduras in Central America several times as part of a medical mission team as translator and missioner. While there, she worked in clinics caring for HIV positive patients in the city of San Pedro Sula and in the surrounding remote mountainous areas providing health care, supplies and ministry to villagers and their children.

The Rev. Manzanares moved to Indianapolis late in the Spring of 2006 and is delighted to become a part of this Diocese. Prior to beginning her work at Christ Church Cathedral, she worked as a supply priest at various parishes/missions in the Central Indiana Diocese.

Her hobbies include working jigsaw puzzles, fishing, nature walks, playing with her miniature dachshunds, Snickers and Abby, and reading the works of Anthony de Mello.

As a priest, the Rev. Manzanares has always strived to be a pastor, preacher and teacher. She says serving in Central Indiana has opened a new chapter in her priesthood that enables her to serve God and continue to give thanksgivings for all the blessings and challenges she has received in her life.