Bishop Paul Sirba of the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., died suddenly from cardiac arrest on Dec. 1 at age 59 on his way to Mass.
Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland responded to the news on Facebook with great sadness, describing the late bishop as “one of my closest bishop friends.”
The archbishop added that Bishop Sirba was a “great consolation to me personally” and “a great inspiration” as he discerned his priestly vocation many years ago. He added that “the Diocese of Duluth has lost a very holy and loving shepherd.”
However, the Archbishop ended his post with a powerful message relating to the advent season.
“He passed away on this First Sunday of Advent on his way to church for Holy Mass,” Archbishop Sample said. “As we await the Lord’s coming, this is a powerful reminder that we know not the day or hour of His coming.”
The archbishop then ended his post with the Eternal Rest prayer.
Here’s Archbishop Sample’s post below:
His full post reads, “I just received this morning the terrible news that Bishop Paul Sirba, Bishop of Duluth, passed away this morning suddenly due to cardiac arrest.
“Bishop Sirba was one of my closest bishop friends and a member of my bishop fraternity group. Our group just spent time together at the November USCCB meeting in prayer, mutual support and fellowship. He was a great consolation to me personally.
“I had known Bishop Sirba for 34 years, and was present at his priestly and episcopal ordinations. He was a great inspiration to me as a young man discerning my own priestly vocation at the time. The Diocese of Duluth has lost a very holy and loving shepherd.
“He passed away on this First Sunday of Advent on his way to church for Holy Mass. As we await the Lord’s coming, this is a powerful reminder that we know not the day or hour of His coming.
“Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him! May he rest in peace!”