ST. PAUL, Minn. — Bishop Paul D. Sirba of Duluth, Minnesota, died Dec. 1 at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth. He was 59.
According to a statement from the diocese’s vicar general, Father James Bissonette, Bishop Sirba suffered cardiac arrest at St. Rose Catholic Church in Proctor and was rushed to the medical center where lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.
He died shortly after 9 a.m. He received last rites from Father John Petrich, a hospital chaplain.
His funeral Mass was to be celebrated Dec. 6 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary in Duluth, followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery, also in Duluth.
Bishop Sirba grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and attended Nativity of Mary Catholic School in Bloomington, Academy of Angels in Richfield and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. After studying at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1986.
He was an associate pastor at St. Olaf Parish in Minneapolis from 1986 to 1990 and at St. John the Baptist Parish in Savage from 1990 to 1991. From 1991 to 2000, he was a member of the spiritual formation department at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul. He then served as pastor of Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Parish in St. Paul from 2000 to 2006 and as a spiritual director at the St. Paul Seminary from 2006 to 2009.
Archbishop John C. Nienstedt appointed him vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese in July 2009. Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Duluth and he was ordained a bishop in December 2009. He succeeded Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr, who was appointed coadjutor archbishop of Cincinnati and is now head of the Ohio archdiocese.
Father Bissonette asked for prayers for the bishop, his family and the diocese.
Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis tweeted shortly before noon Dec. 1 that the “Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis grieves with the Diocese of Duluth over the passing of their beloved shepherd, Bishop Paul Sirba, recalling his many years of joyful service as a son of this local Church. May he rest in peace.”
In a Dec. 1 statement, Archbishop Hebda said that his heart “goes out to Bishop Sirba’s family and to the priests and faithful of the Diocese of Duluth as they grieve his sudden passing.”