By Carmen F. Aguinaco
People who just see his boyish, mischievous looks wouldn’t guess the impressive resume of Bishop Daniel Flores, the bishop of Brownsville, Texas. To prepare himself for the work in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas, Flores started a series of conversations with the clergy, religious men and women, and lay people to learn about the needs of the diocese and to formulate strategies to respond to them. Brownsville is a border city that is being divided by a wall, whose construction is tearing through private property, destroying wildlife refuges in South Texas, dividing families, and even splitting up the campus grounds at the University of Texas-Brownsville.
Although still very young, Flores is up to the challenges his new diocese presents. He has been the vicar of the Cathedral of Corpus Christi, Texas, secretary to the then bishop of the diocese Rene Gracida, vice-chancellor, academic dean for seminarians, and vicar of the bishop for priestly vocations.
In 1995 he was appointed chaplain of the Vatican by Pope John Paul II. He has a doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas in Rome and later became the chancellor of the Corpus Christi Diocese. In 2001 he was appointed formation director for the Major Seminary of Galveston-Houston, and he taught at the university in that same city. In 2006 he was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He has served in various committees of the USCCB as well as in numerous boards, including the Mexican American Catholic College of San Antonio, Texas and the Midwest Cultural Leadership Institute in South Bend, Indiana.
Yet all these titles, positions, and activities have not taken away his modesty. They have, rather, deepened his sense of service. “I come here,” he said immediately following his appointment as bishop of Brownsville, “with the intention of building on the foundations laid by many others … God grants us life and the gifts of time to be able to serve. The work of the church is never finished and it is a privilege to be able to offer an entire life to the service of its mission.”
The faith of Bishop Flores was nourished by his parents and grandparents. He likes to repeat a song that he learned as a child and that synthesizes his faith and his vision of mission: “Baptized into Christ, fed by what he sacrificed, we give ourselves to life and love, until we rest in heaven above.”
And this is precisely his tireless intention: to give his life until the end.
In what ways do you think God may be calling you? Do you think he is calling you to serve at a young age? How do you respond?