SAN ANTONIO – Former Archbishop Patrick Flores died Monday afternoon at the age of 87. He suffered from pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
Flores was the first Mexican-American to rise to a high rank in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, according to the Archdiocese website. With his appointment as archbishop in 1979, he became the leader of the largest province of dioceses in the country.
"It was his kindness, his sense of charity," Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said.
Throughout his tenure, Flores guided the faithful and never wavered in his commitment to the church.
"I remember him as a child. I was an altar boy at Lackland Air Base and I served Mass for him when he came out there,” Emil Fleming said. “He was a really good guy. I'm sure he's going to be missed. I'm sure he is in heaven."
In 1987, Flores was present for one of San Antonio's most historic moments: The Visit of Pope John Paul II.
Flores welcomed the pontiff and was at his side while he toured the Alamo City.
In his final days, Flores was staying at the Padua Place, a residence for retired San Antonio priests. While there, Garcia-Siller made one final request.
"I asked him, 'Please bless me.' He lifted his hand and blessed me. It's something that stays with me and will stay with me and will help me to be strong," said Garcia-Siller.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, but services will be held at San Fernando Cathedral.