"FATHER OF MERCY AND LOVE"
Born on May 18, 1949, Joseph Robert Cistone was the second of three sons born to Josephine R. (Altomare) and Daniel A. Cistone, Sr. He was baptized and grew up in the close-knit Italian parish community of Our Lady of Consolation in Philadelphia. He received his elementary education from his parish school and later graduated from the city’s Father Judge High School for Boys.
In 1967, he entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1971 and Master’s of Divinity in 1975. Bishop Cistone was ordained to the priesthood on May 17, 1975, by John Cardinal Krol for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Father Cistone celebrated his first Mass at his home parish, Our Lady of Consolation, on his 26th birthday. His first assignment was as assistant pastor at Epiphany of Our Lord Parish in Philadelphia, where he served until 1979. During that time, he also served as chaplain at the city’s St. Maria Goretti High School from 1977 to 1979.
He later served as assistant pastor at Saint Jerome Parish in Philadelphia from 1979 to 1982, Saint Jude Parish in Chalfont, Pa., from 1982 to 1987; Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Norristown, Pa., from 1987 to 1989 and Saint Bernard Parish in Philadelphia from 1989 to 1991. In addition to his parish assignments, Father Cistone also served as an advocate and Defender of the Bond in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Metropolitan Tribunal, member of admissions board for the archdiocese’s Permanent Diaconate Program and Newman Chaplain at Delaware Valley College of Science.
In 1991, he was appointed as Dean of Formation at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Father Cistone was next transferred to the archdiocesan administrative offices, where he has served for the past 16 years in various capacities. He was Associate to the Vicar for Administration from 1993 to 1994 and Assistant Vicar for Administration from 1994 to 1998.
On March 14, 1998, he was named as an honorary prelate by Pope John Paul II, giving him the title of monsignor. That same year, he was appointed as Vicar General and Vicar for Administration for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
John Paul II recognized him again on June 8, 2004, when he appointed Monsignor Cistone to become an Auxilary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was consecrated as a bishop on July 28, 2004, at the city’s Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. Bishop Cistone chose for his episcopal motto, a phrase from his daily devotion to Philadelphia’s Saint John Neumann: Father of Mercy and Love.
Bishop Cistone was appointed Bishop of Saginaw by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on May 20, 2009 and installed on July 28, 2009 - the fifth anniversary of his episcopal ordination.
Installation: July 28, 2009
Evening Prayer: July 27, 2009
Appointment: May 20, 2009