Hundreds Bid Farewell to Bishop Paul Sirba

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: December 06, 2019 07:59 PM

It was an emotional day for many Catholics across the region who bid their final farewell to Diocese of Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary.


Hundreds of mourners filled the church to honor the life of Bishop Sirba who passed away unexpectedly over the weekend from a heart attack.

A leader, with a compassionate and gentle character is one of many ways Bishop Sirba is being remembered by the catholic community. Father Joseph Sirba reflected on his brother's kind heart.

"He was so much like Jesus, gentle with people and uncompromising with the truth. A true shepherd and father,” said Sirba.

His great sense of humor was also highlighted.

"He would just crack a particular joke or say something with his great wit, that would bring a lightness to a moment,” said Father Anthony Wroblewski, a pastor of St. Francis in Brainerd.

Sirba's family spoke about him as a bishop, son, brother, and uncle who enriched the lives of those around him. They said he set an example to the catholic church and to those who were close to him.

“He set the bar so high for us. I am so grateful to Father Sirba,” said Most Rev. Bernard Hebda, an archbishop for the archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis.

“A lot of people knew him, loved him. The 10 years he was here he visited all the parishes, he was always here for us and he did it in a way that people noticed,” said Father James Bissonette, the Diocese of Duluth administrator.

"I have a great joy in working with Bishop Sirba. He was always an encouragement to me and that is my biggest word for him, an encouragement to everything that I did," said Father Gabriel Waweru.

Those in the pews prayed, sang, and cried together as they reflected on Bishop Sirba's commitment to helping the diocese grow and his dedication to spreading the message of god.

"When he met people they could tell that he cared about them. They were attracted to him because they could see in him the love of Christ. He was a channel of god’s grace,” said Sirba.

"It feels like we're orphans now because he was such a good spiritual father to all of us. When you were with him, you really knew that he cared about you, he was listening to you," said Wroblewski.

"May the Angels Lead You Into Paradise" was the song of farewell dedicated to Bishop Sirba. A fitting tribute to a bishop who spread light to many lives.

Bishop Sirba was laid to rest at the Calvary Cemetery in Duluth.

He is survived by his mother, two brothers, sister, and many nieces and nephews.

Those who wish to send memorial gifts may send it to:

The Diocese of Duluth

2830 East Fourth Street

Duluth, MN 55812

Write in the memo: “Sirba Memorial” or click donate at the Diocese of Duluth website.

If you want to see Bishop Paul Sirba's obituary, click here.


Alejandra Palacios

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