My good friend and mentor, Archbishop Patrick Flores, passed away today at the age of 87.

I received the news with personal sadness but also with a sense of joy that he is now enjoying the presence of our loving God.

Archbishop Flores lived a long and good life and through his priesthood and ministry he touched many people with his love for life and his love for Jesus Christ.  

He was a beautiful example for me of a priest and a bishop. I will always be grateful for his generosity and kindness to me. It is was an honor to follow him as Archbishop of San Antonio, which I did when he retired in 2004.

As the first Hispanic bishop appointed in this country since the time of the early missionaries, Archbishop Flores was a pioneer and role model not only for me but also for a generation of Hispanic priests and Latino leaders. He knew the struggles of Hispanics in this country, and he was a friend to the farmworker and a voice of conscience for dignity and human rights. He taught all of us to celebrate our heritage and traditions and encouraged us to share our faith and values proudly and to become leaders in our communities.

I will miss him. I ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to draw him close in her maternal tenderness.