"When people met him, they felt accepted by him,” Father Joseph Sirba said in the funeral homily for his brother, our beloved Bishop Paul Sirba, who died unexpectedly Dec. 1. “To them he wasn’t just Bishop Paul, but my friend, Bishop Paul ….”
Or take it from a retired priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis: “I think the thing about Bishop Paul was, no matter who he was with, he was 100 percent himself and you felt like he was your best friend,” he told The Catholic Spirit. “He was so kind and loving and interested in your life.”
The outpouring of love, the grief mixed with Christian hope for Bishop Sirba’s eternal reward, certainly bear those impressions out. People loved Bishop Sirba, and they knew he loved them.
Bishop Sirba chose for his episcopal motto “fi at voluntas tua” — “thy will be done” — echoing his deep trust in divine providence. He would surely be quick to console us with the truth that in whatever happens in the coming days, while we await the appointment of a new bishop, God has a loving plan for us here in the Diocese of Duluth and will take good care of us.
But it is certainly good and right to remember with deep gratitude the gift God gave us in Bishop Sirba. Do you have a favorite memory you’d like to share? We can’t promise to publish all submissions, but in our next issue, we would like to publish a selection of contributions in honor of our beloved shepherd. Please email them by Jan. 17 to [email protected]