'The shepherd of the people' Flores mourned by believers

Legacy of Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Flores remembered

SAN ANTONIO – The legacy of Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Flores was remembered during a funeral mass Tuesday at San Fernando Cathedral.

The child of farmworkers who picked cotton as a boy, Flores often celebrated Mass at the church where he was eulogized.

Rebecca Flores' eyes welled with tears as she remembered Flores' devotion to farmworkers.

"He would go to labor camps and have Mass there," said Flores, a former state director of the United Farmworkers.

Flores said the archbishop emeritus also championed farmworkers' issues, such as their fight against pesticide use in the fields where they harvested crops.

Bishop Joel Martinez of United Methodist Church said he considered Flores "the shepherd of the people."

"He was a champion, an advocate, a voice for the voiceless, especially the poor," Martinez said.

Albert Barbosa was among hundreds who sat under a tent outside the cathedral to watch the funeral Mass broadcast live.

"He was there for the whole city, not just the Catholics," Barbosa said.

Others spoke of Flores' courage, love and compassion, and his way with the people who sought his counsel or blessings.

"Un privilegio, a privilege, a privilege to have known him," Martinez said.