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Patrick Flores: 1929—: Roman Catholic Archbishop

Ministered To The Oppressed

At age 70, Flores returned to his background in pastoral counseling to end a potentially deadly situation. On June 28, 2000, Nelson Escolero, a disgruntled Spanish-speaking immigrant from El Salvador, took Flores hostage along with the archdiocese secretary, Myrtle Sanchez. Escolero entered the archbishop's office at the chancery on Woodlawn Avenue and threatened to detonate a hand grenade. One office employee escaped and turned on a silent alarm to police headquarters.

After Escolero ripped out the telephone, Flores had only his faith and experience as a means of ending the situation peacefully. A nine-hour standoff on the third floor of the episcopal residence that involved officers of the police SWAT teams and FBI negotiators as well as the kidnapper's wife and son and 100 onlookers, who stood in 90-degree heat awaiting the victims' fate. Under reasoned counsel from Flores, Escolero relented and released first Sanchez, then the archbishop later. Flores was unharmed, but attendants took the precaution of removing him by stretcher.

Flores publicly forgave the kidnapper and took pity on the man's emotional distress over a passport problem. Flores explained his actions in America magazine: "I forgive. In this I have no choice. If I want to be forgiven, I have to forgive." Commentators from the parish noted that one of Flores's strengths as a priest is sympathy for immigrants like Escolero.

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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