t's been more than a year since the Diocese of Duluth had a bishop. That all changed Monday afternoon.
"It is hard to describe the rush of emotions that I'm sure myself and all of my other bishops have felt," Bishop Paul Sirba said during his ordination.
In front of nearly 2,000 people Sirba became the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Duluth.
For devoted Catholics like Jackie Park, Sirba represents a new face for religious leadership.
"He's a Shepard for our priests. He's a shepard's Shepard so that will be nice to have someone that they can turn to," Park said.
For new Catholics, like Paul Kemp, today was a day of religious confirmation.
"It was moving. It was beautiful I thought," Kemp said.
As bishop, Sirba's responsibilities will range from teacher to pastor to counselor. Just minutes after Sirba was ordained, it seems his parishioners were already learning a thing or two.
"He seems like a very nice man and humble. Maybe I could learn from that. I could be a little more humble myself," Kemp said.
The Catholic Diocese of Duluth has been in the Northland for more than 120 years. Northlands News Center
New Duluth Diocese Bishop is ordainedCatholics from International Falls to Pine City to Brainerd are now looking to Bishop Paul Sirba for spiritual guidance. He was ordained Monday at the DECC.
In front of a packed DECC Auditorium of more than 2,200, Vicar General Sirba becomes Bishop Sirba. He shares with the crowd what it was like when he got the phone call with the news from rome.
"Honestly, I wanted to say 'yes' immediately to whatever it was our Holy Father asked. But, imagine my surprise when the words that came out of my mouth were, "Are you sure you don't want my brother, Father Josephson?"
And from Rome, with a letter from Pope Benedict, Reverend Sambi reading the pontiff's words.
"By our apostolic authority, we choose you for the Diocese of Duluth."
A diocese of more than 16,000. Many of whom came from afar to witness his ordination. [I'm not sure where they got that number from, officially, the Diocese of Duluth, with a population of 430,000, has a population of about 72,000 in 28,000 households.]
"We have a young leader and one that seems well liked, popular, very knowledgeable on things," says Kayla Nelson from Sandstone. "I think it's going to be good for our diocese to bring us all together."
"He has a lot of weighted responsibility on him now," says Luke Bearth from Burnsville. "But, he's humble enough and a good enough man that he'll be able to handle it."
It's a busy week for the new bishop. First, he's attending a reception to meet some new parishioners Monday night. And Tuesday, he's giving everyone in his new office the day off. A day of rest, in anticipation of a life–time of work of service for a man who will always remember that moment when he was called.
"From amazement to disbelief to unworthiness to sudden awareness that my life was about to change in a big way." Fox 21 News