San Diego Catholic bishop dies after battle with cancer

Cirilo Flores, as auxiliary bishop of Orange County, during a Mass at the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange. Named bishop of San Diego in 2013, he died Saturday of cancer.
(Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times)

Roman Catholic Bishop Cirilo Flores died Saturday after a battle with cancer, the Diocese of San Diego announced.

Flores, 66, died at 2:47 p.m., at the Nazareth House senior living facility in Mission Valley where he had been transferred this week from a hospital in Los Angeles.

Flores “passed away peacefully,” with his cousin Dr. Tom Martinez, Msgr. Steven Callahan and the Sisters of Nazareth at his bedside, the diocese said.


“Please remember Bishop Flores and his family in your prayers,” the diocese added.

On Wednesday, the diocese had announced Flores was suffering from cancer that was “widespread, very advanced and very aggressive” and that doctors determined he was not a candidate for chemotherapy because of “his very weak condition and the advanced stage of the disease.”

A week earlier, the diocese had announced that Flores, who suffered a stroke in April, was being treated for prostate cancer at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles.

Flores was taken to Nazareth House, which is owned and operated by the Sisters of Nazareth, a Catholic religious order.

A native of Corona, he received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and a law degree from Stanford. His father was an immigrant from Sinaloa, Mexico.

Flores practiced business-litigation law for a decade in Riverside and Los Angeles counties before being ordained in 1991 as a priest in the Diocese of Orange.

After serving in several posts in Orange County, he was named as coadjutor bishop in San Diego by Pope Benedict XVI in January 2012. In September 2013, he became the fifth bishop of the San Diego Diocese, succeeding Bishop Robert Brom, who retired.


Flores selected as his episcopal motto, “For the Greater Glory of God.”

Funeral rites are pending.