Pope John Paul II has named Bishop Patrick Flores, a Mexican-American descendent of migrant farm workers, to be the new archbishop of San Antonio, Tex., a region with one of the largest and most active Hispanic communities in the country.
It will be a kind of homecoming for the 50-year-old prelate. Before Paul Paul VI named him to head the diocese of El Paso in April 1978, Bishop Flores served as auxiliary bishop of San Antonio from 1970 to 1978.
Archbishop-elect Flores will succeed the late Archbishop Francis J. Furey who died April 23. Furey had urged Rome to appoint Flores, then a pastor in Houston, as his auxiliary bishop.
In his new post, he becomes the spiritual leader of more than half a million Catholics among the 1.3 million people living within the 33,000 square miles that comprise the archdiocese of San Antonio. As an archbishop, he also becomes the metropolitan head of the 10 Catholic dioceses in Texas.
Archbishop-elect Flores is one of three Hispanic bishops currently heading sees in the U.S. The others are Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez of Santa Fe and Bishop Rene Gracida of Pensacola-Tallahassee. Six other Hispanics serve as auxiliary bishops.
Tuesday, the Pope also appointed Msgr. Joseph A. Fiorenza as bishop of San Angelo, Tex. Fiorenza, 48, has been serving as chancellor of the diocese of Galveston-Houston. He succeeds Bishop Stephen A. Leven, who resigned in April.