Duluth received its much-prayed-for shepherd when Bishop Paul Sirba was ordained in December, a little more than a year after our previous bishop was named archbishop in Cincinnati. Many of us attended the Solemn Vespers and Ordination, and came away with the sense that our diocese was very lucky indeed.
This past Sunday, Bishop Sirba came to the monastery for Evening Prayer and supper. He chose to come an hour early, spending the time meeting each of the retired sisters on Benet Hall one-by-one, thanking them for their months of prayer for unknown bishop-to-be.
A sister who had entered religious life decades before Bishop Sirba was born was a bit surprised to hear this was the bishop. “Oh! A good-looking young bishop!” she exclaimed. “Well,” he said humbly, “I am pretty young as bishops go.” Not to be denied, our sister said, “Yes, and good-looking too!” With a bit of a blush, he went on to meet the next sister.
After supper, Bishop Sirba spoke a few words to us, thanking us for our work in this diocese and our prayers. His words were sometimes lighthearted, sometimes more serious – always personable. His blessing was heartfelt and powerful – and we were glad to receive it.
I hope this is just the first of many visits with Bishop Sirba.