SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — There are heavy hearts at the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House following the death of Bishop Paul Swain, who passed away over the weekend in hospice care.
Swain spearheaded the effort to establish the shelter for people living on the street nearly a decade ago.

Dawn Lapka is a regular guest of the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House. She’s here while waiting to move into an apartment in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“I like staying here at the Bishop Dudley House because not only are they accommodating, but they have helped in multiple ways with things like victim assistance,” Lapka said.

Lapka got to meet Bishop Paul Swain during her time in Sioux Falls.

“Bishop Swain was very funny, he like to tell jokes whenever he could. And he loved Christmas,” Lapka said.

Swain was the driving force behind the Bishop Dudley Hospitality House, drawing upon the financial resources of the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls to purchase the property. He’s also credited with mobilizing community support for the facility.

“The whole collaboration and the committees that made this place what it is today, it could not have been done without his leadership,” Bishop Dudley Hospitality House Executive Director Madeline Shields said.

Swain was a familiar face in the hallways of the Hospitality House. He was a regular visitor here during his time as bishop.

“He wanted to know what was going on here. He always had lots of questions and how everyone was doing when he would come in. He’d go around and he’d talk to people,” Shields said.

Shields says Swain planned to spend his retirement volunteering at the Bishop Dudley House. But the pandemic put a stop to those plans. Yet it speaks to Swain’s commitment to serving those in need.

“Without Bishop Swain, there would probably not be a Bishop Dudley House, because he truly believed in this ministry,” Shields said.

The Hospitality House is named after one of Swain’s predecessors. Bishop Paul Dudley was instrumental in establishing the St. Francis House as well as The Banquet feeding ministry.

The Bishop Dudley House is hosting an open house on Thursday. The public is invited to tour the facility and enjoy snacks from 1-6 p.m.