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Visitation Begins for Late Bishop Paul Sirba

Baihly Warfield
Updated: December 05, 2019 06:36 PM

The Catholic faithful have begun to say goodbye to Bishop Paul Sirba. 

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Visitation began at 3 Thursday afternoon. Parishioners recited the rosary together at 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, then there was a prayer service at 7. 

The Rev. Richard Kunst said he expects all the vigils and funeral to be standing room only. 

"He's one of these people where when you're talking to him, nobody else matters. He's totally focused on who you are, and he gives his whole attention to you," Kunst described. 

The bishop's personal presence and remarkable ability to remember people's names is adding to the loss, Kunst said. He and others around the Diocese of Duluth are finding deeper meaning in the timing of Sirba's death. 

"It's almost like it was meant to be. And it was meant to be. But you see the rhythm of God's providence in regards to dying the first Sunday of Advent," Kunst said. "I suppose we could always say for any day he dies, you could say there's a reason for this. But it was really apparent. That whole point of Advent is to be prepared because you never know the hour. And that's the theme of Advent. And that's the day he died on." 

What Father Kunst will remember is Sirba's depth of holiness and his simplicity. 

"I would say that he has probably taught me to spend more time with my people," Kunst said. "If he was here right now, he would probably say, 'That's the only thing I wanted to teach you.'"

Visitation continues at 8 a.m. Friday, followed by the funeral Mass at 11 a.m. WDIO will live stream the funeral online and on the mobile app.

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Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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