Less than a year after taking office, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, Cirilo Flores, died from complications related to cancer on Saturday afternoon.
Flores had been undergoing treatment for cancer in his bones in Los Angeles, before moving to a hospice center in San Diego for palliative care yesterday. Flores, 66, suffered a stroke in April and was reportedly too weak to undergo chemotherapy.
When he was installed as bishop last September, Flores said in a statement that he planned to focus his ministry on care for the poor, faith formation, young adult ministry, vocations, and cultural diversity.
He was ordained a priest in June 1991, and was appointed coadjutor bishop of San Diego in 2012. He entered the Jesuit order, but left to study law, earning a degree from Stanford University School of Law and practicing business law for a decade before entering seminary in 1986.
The son of a Mexican father, Flores was the first Latino bishop of San Diego. He served on the US bishops’ Subcommittee for Hispanic Affairs.
Sister RayMonda DuVall, executive director of Catholic Charities, told the San Diego Union Tribune that Flores “was a man who had a lot of joy. You always felt he was happy to see you, to be with you and to be among people.”
The Diocese of San Diego was founded in 1936 and serves nearly one million Catholics in southern California.