Husband, wife recall Bishop Sirba’s ministry

| December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

Matthew Kuettel

Matthew Kuettel was 12 when then-Father Paul Sirba was appointed pastor of his childhood parish, Maternity of the Blessed Virgin in St. Paul.

It was summer 2000, and Kuettel became an altar server. Over the next six years, Father Sirba had “a remarkable impact” on Kuettel’s life, which led to Kuettel enrolling at St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul to take a serious look at the priesthood.

“He had a presence about him that exuded the joy of the Gospel,” Kuettel, 31, recalled. “You felt like you were encountering Christ. … He was very rooted in his faith, and that was communicated when you were with him. And so, I think in those years it gave me a sense that there was something more to Christianity than just a set of beliefs, that there was a lifestyle with it as well. It was something that I wanted to follow.”

Over time, Kuettel discerned that God was calling him to a different vocation: marriage. Bishop Sirba was part of that, too, witnessing Kuettel’s wedding vows in 2013 at Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul. Kuettel’s wife, Renae, got to know Bishop Sirba during marriage preparation, which included going up to Duluth to meet with him and share a meal.

“He was always very welcoming and hospitable,” she said. “It was very easy to feel like you’ve known him for a long time even if you had just met him.”

As the Kuettels, who now belong to Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, grieve the loss of Bishop Sirba, they will continue to experience his “comforting presence,” especially when they recall their wedding day and view photos of him.

“When I look at his picture, I feel like you can just tell he was just a very kind, warm person that just loved people deeply, as well as God,” Renae said. “As a bishop, he was very busy. And, for him to take the time with us to talk through what we were doing (to get ready for marriage) meant a lot.”

Tags: , , ,

Category: Local News