University of Mary welcomes bishop from diocese with largest percentage of Catholics in America
by University of Mary
Bishop Daniel Flores
A year ago this month, when Pope Francis visited Mexico, the Holy Father had two United States bishops accompany him for the five-day trip. Bishop Daniel Flores of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, TX, was one of those two at the pontiff’s side during visits to all six Mexican cities. Flores had met Francis once before, a year prior in 2015, during his pilgrimage to the United States.
“I walked away feeling very affirmed that the role of bishop is a pastoral one, one in which we must lead by example,” Flores said of his encounter with Pope Francis.
Leading by example and spreading the Pope’s message of hope is something Flores takes to heart and continues to do to this day. Flores’ talk, entitled “The Synthetic Impulse in Catholic Education,” will be presented at the second annual St. Hildegard Lecture Series, Friday, February 24, 10 a.m. in Butler Auditorium at the University of Mary’s Gary Tharaldson School of Business. This event is free and open to the public.
The St. Hildegard Lecture is an annual event meant to bring to campus significant Catholic intellectuals, both ecclesiastical and lay leaders, to reflect on the importance of the main themes of the University of Mary Catholic Studies program: the relationship of faith and reason, the role of beauty and art in culture, and the mission to transform the world. The Lecture is named for St. Hildegard, a 11th century Benedictine Abbess and Doctor of the Church, who as a mystic, expert on medicine, poet, and musician represents the integration we seek in the Catholic Studies program.
It’s probably no coincidence that Flores’ work for human dignity, the underserved, the voiceless and countless others wherever his ministry takes him, is making an impression at the Vatican. In Flores’ Brownsville Diocese of the Rio Grande Valley, he shepherds over 1.1 million Catholics, which makes up 85 percent of its total population—the largest percentage in America.
Flores will be speaking to the public and students who consider themselves the “pro-life generation”—many of whom are fresh off their own 60-plus-hour pilgrimage to and from Washington, DC, —where they led one of the largest March for Life events in its 45-year existence. In a story printed in his diocesan newspaper, The Valley Catholic, Flores reflects on the Pope’s message during their journey together in Mexico that, in part, focused on the hope young people offer a community, stating “where there are young people there is always hope for a community to renew itself, a renewal that can come if we don’t stifle the hopes and the dreams of our young people.”
On December 9, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Flores as the Sixth Bishop of Brownsville. He was installed on February 2, 2010 at the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle – National Shrine, and thus became the third native Texan to serve the Rio Grande Valley as Bishop.
On a national level, as a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Flores currently serves as Chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church. He also serves as a member to the following committees: Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Committee of Divine Worship, Sub-Committee on Pro-life Activities, and the Committee for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the charitable arm of the United States Bishops Conference for international assistance.