Paul Swain, former bishop of Sioux Falls Diocese, dies at 79

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Bishop Emeritus Paul Swain, who gained a reputation as a humble, prayerful leader when he was oversaw the Diocese of Sioux Falls for 14 years, has died.

Swain died Saturday at Avera Dougherty Hospice, according to an obituary from Miller Funeral Home. He was 79. The diocese announced his death Sunday on Facebook.

Swain became bishop in 2006, and before that he was a priest in Madison, Wisconsin, the Argus Leader reported. As bishop, he oversaw the closing or consolidation of several smaller parishes, a process that the Rev. Charles Cimpl said went smoothly.

“Everybody likes to have the church in their hometown, and he was very sensitive to that. But also sensitive to the fact that we had to use our power to the best of our abilities,” Cimpl said.

Swain also addressed the child sex abuse allegations that have plagued the Catholic church. In March 2019, the diocese released the names of 11 priests with substantiated claims of abuse against them dating from 1958 to 1992. Swain encouraged other victims to come forward.

“It’s important for victims to feel that they’ve been listened to, and to feel that they have credibility,” Swain said, adding that he wanted to support them “and hopefully some healing can come as a result.”

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