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He suffered a stroke in April, and as he continued dealing with its effects, his Diocese announced Aug. 25 that he was also undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. At his deathbed were his cousin, Dr. Tom Martinez; Msgr. Steven Callahan; and the Sisters of Nazareth.

 “I thank God for the life and ministry of my brother bishop, Cirilo Flores, a native of our Diocese,” Bishop Gerald Barnes offered in a tweet in the wake of Bishop Flores’ passing. “Please pray for the repose of his soul.”

 Bishop Flores was born in 1948 to Cirilo and Armida Flores. He has three brothers and two sisters, all of whom live in California. He attended St. Edward School in Corona and graduated from Notre Dame High School in Riverside. In February, Bishop Flores was recognized as a distinguished alumni of both schools at the annual Catholic Schools Awards Banquet. He spoke briefly about the importance of Catholic schools, calling them a “community project.”

 “We must believe and maintain that Jesus Christ is the center of your schools,” Bishop Flores said that evening. “He is the ever present teacher. He is model for our faculties and the inspiration for our students and their parents.”

 He studied law at Stanford University, and practiced law in Riverside and Los Angeles counties prior to entering St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo in 1986. Father Mark Kotlarczyk, pastor of St. Frances of Rome Parish in Wildomar, was three years ahead of Flores at St. John and socialized with him frequently during their time in the seminary. The two, joined by other seminarians, would get together for dinner on weekends, Fr. Kotlarczyk recalls.

 “He was low key but a very dedicated seminarian,” Fr. Kotlarczyk says. “He was dedicated to his studies and dedicated to prayer.”

 He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Orange in 1991, at the age of 43, and served in several parishes of that diocese. He was then consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of the diocese in 2009. Fr. Kotlarczyk had lost touch with Flores after the seminary but attended his ordination as a bishop and the two renewed acquaintances.

 In 2012, Bishop Flores was appointed coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, succeeding as its ordinary on Sept. 18, 2013, upon the retirement of Bishop Robert Brom. 

 “He had done all this in five years and then he died,” said Fr. Kotlarczyk of Bishop Flores’ short journey as a bishop. “It’s still kind of taken me for a loop. He’s the only bishop that I’ve known that I had been in seminary with. I was proud of that.” 

 Bishop Flores is survived in the episcopacy of his local Church by Bishop Brom, 75, and Bishop Gilbert Chavez, 82, an auxiliary bishop emeritus of San Diego. Msgr. Callahan has been named administrator of the diocese, taking leadership until the next Bishop of San Diego is named by Pope Francis.