Beloved 'Mariachi Bishop' dies at 87
Retired Archbishop Patrick Flores was the first Mexican-American bishop in the United States in May 1970. Since then, he continued to make a name for himself and was much beloved by all who knew him.
Archbishop Patrick Flores has passed away at the age of 87-years-old.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In his youth, Florez was a migrant farm worker who grew up in Texas. He was an advocate for civil rights for farm workers and worked as a cantina musician.
He was well known for his love of Mexican culture, particularly mariachi music. It was this pride and love that led to his affectionate nickname, the "Mariachi Bishop."
According to ABC 12, Flores spoke during his instillation to say: "The church cannot remain neutral or passive since she is both the teacher and mother to all people. And as teacher and mother, the church wants all of her children treated with justice - and afforded their dignity befitting all sons of God.
"If minorities are seeking justice, the church need not be afraid to be present with them in their quest."
Nine years later, in 1979, Bishop Flores ascended to Archbishop Florez and became the leader of the largest province of dioceses in the United States.
During his leadership, Archbishop Florez was also a member of the Immigration and Refugee Department of the United States Catholic Conference, chairman of the Church in Latin America Committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the chairman of the Texas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Archbishop Florez was held hostage in 2000 but God protected him and, after a nine-hour standoff, was rescued, entirely uninjured.
As he grew older, the Mariachi Bishop retired from his post and his health began to fail. He was moved to hospice care after a brief hospital stay for pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
An archdiocese spokesman, Jordan McMorrough, told the San Antonio Express-News Florez was experiencing "extremely serious medical issues" including dementia and Meniee's disease, a hearing disorder known to cause vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus.
Florez passed away shortly before 3 p.m. due to his numerous conditions.
His longtime friend David García said Florez was "an amazing person in so many ways," adding the funeral was "packed to the rafters. He was the first. That puts him at more than 46 years a bishop, which is extremely rare."
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