As the Sundays in Ordinary Time count on, and as the number is higher each week (this coming Sunday is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, having missed the 24th due to the celebration of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross), we are reminded that we are not only approaching the fall season, but we are also getting nearer the end of the Church’s liturgical year, with its consideration of the “last things,” reflections on the “end times” and, frankly, our own mortality. We always live in the shadow of eternity, and the Church’s liturgy serves to teach us that very truth.
However, sometimes the death of a loved one that comes unexpectedly and seemingly suddenly can remind us of the necessary preparations to always be ready to meet the Lord. An unexpected death is also a time to reflect on the goodness of God reflected in our families and friends. Such is the case with Bishop Cirilo Flores. His vigil service is scheduled for Tuesday of this week in San Diego and his Mass of the Resurrection the next day, also in San Diego. We are going to have a Mass of the Resurrection for him on Sept. 24 at St. Norbert Church in Orange at 10 a.m.
I was blessed to know him for several years before I was assigned here to Orange, and I always found him to show the love and goodness of God to all he met. He gave me good advice in a number of situations over the years, and was very supportive and helpful upon my nomination as bishop. From our recent discussions, I know that Bishop Brown truly appreciated his support and ministry. We had several good reflections over the past two years in our work together in Sacramento at the California Catholic Conference, over the appreciation of the University of Notre Dame at their support for Catholic Grade schools, and we had mutual admiration for the efforts of the Neocatechumenal Way in their outreach and evangelization efforts. Over and over I have heard of his goodness and ministry in the Diocese, especially at St. Anne Church in Santa Ana, St. Norbert Church in Orange and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in La Habra. And I know that these are but a fraction of the stories of his ministry here in Orange. His life was recently described on the well-known national blog “Whispers in the Loggia” as a “beautiful disciple.” I couldn’t agree more. As we mourn his passing in these days, our prayers and reflections of gratitude accompany him with the angels into eternal life. May the words of the Lord found in the Ordination Rite, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of your Lord,” greet him as he enters into the fullness of life with Christ, the promise of which he received at his baptism.