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Patrick Flores: 1929—: Roman Catholic Archbishop

Mexican-american Roots

Flores required no special training to introduce him to the concerns and needs of immigrant Latinos in Southern Texas. He was born on July 26, 1929, seventh among the nine children of Patrico and Trinidad Fernandez de Flores, Mexican-American immigrants, and migrant farm workers living in Ganado, Texas. Intent on quitting school in the tenth grade, Flores obeyed the urgings of a Catholic bishop and obtained a diploma from Kirwin High School in Galveston, Texas. While sweeping up beer cans and cigarette stubs in a public dance hall in his teens, he decided to make the world cleaner and more liveable by becoming a priest.

Once the decision was made, Flores did not waver in his career goal. After studying at St. Mary's Seminary in La Porte, Texas, and at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston, he took holy vows. Bishop Wendellin Nold ordained Flores on May 26, 1956. As Father Flores, he celebrated his first mass at the Guardian Angel in Pasadena, Texas, before accepting a post in the Houston diocese. At the time, he wanted to serve a parish, but he had no drive to reach the upper levels of officialdom in the American Catholic Church.

Flores began his career at Holy Name Parish, Guardian Angel Parish, then St. Joseph's-St. Stephen's parish as assistant pastor and pastor. An activist from the beginning, he directed the Christian Family Movement and the Bishop's Committee for the Spanish Speaking, a ministry that encouraged bilingual congregations. After Pope John Paul VI named Flores auxiliary to the archbishop of San Antonio in May of 1970, within months, he advanced to interim bishop, becoming the first native Texan to head the state's largest archdiocese and the first Mexican American to attain so powerful a position in the Roman Catholic Church.

At a Glance . . .

Born Patrick F. Flores on July 26, 1929, in Ganado, TX. Education: Attended St. Mary's Seminary, La Porte, Texas, 1949; divinity degree, St. Mary's Seminary, Houston, TX,1956.Religion Roman Catholic.

Career: Roman Catholic Church, St. Mary' Cathedral, Galveston, TX, ordained priest, 1956; Houston Diocese, assistant pastor and pastor, 1956-1970; Archdiocese of San Antonio, auxiliary to the archbishop and interim archbishop, 1970; Mexican-American Cultural Center, San Antonio, co-founder, 1972; National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, founder, 1976; Diocese of El Paso, TX, bishop, 1978; Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX, archbishop, 1979.

Awards: Medal of freedom Ellis Island medal of honor Statue of Liberty 100th Birthday, 1986; Hispanic Heritage award for leadership, 1986; American Jewish Committee, Human Relations Award, 1995; Salute to Education award, 1995; San Antonio Council fo Churches, San Antonio, Texas, Distinguished Churchman Award, 1995.

Addresses: Office—Chancery Office, P. O. Box 28410, 2718 West Woodlawn Avenue, San Antonio, TX, 78228-5124; also, 2600 West Woodlawn Avenue, San Antonio, TX, 78228-5122.

Despite a title and ecclesiastical power, Flores's activities continued to center him in humble undertakings. In 1972 he nourished city-wide plans for San Antonio's Mexican-American Cultural Center, for which he served as honorary chairman. He helped form the National Foundation of Mexican American Vocations and the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund. In his twentieth year in the priesthood, he co-founded the "Telethon Navideno" [Nativity Telethon], a charity aiding indigent Latino families.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Trevor Edwards Biography - Accepted Wisdom from His Mother to Francisco Franco (1892–1975) BiographyPatrick Flores: 1929—: Roman Catholic Archbishop Biography - Mexican-american Roots, From Bishop To Archbishop, Ministered To The Oppressed, Rewards For Character And Trust In Parishioners