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Diocese to Celebrate Tenth Anniversary of the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Cistone
WHAT: Mass of Thanksgiving recognizing the tenth anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of Bishop Cistone and the fifth anniversary of his installation as Bishop of Saginaw
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 27
WHERE: Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt Ave., Saginaw
SAGINAW — On Sunday, July 27 at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, a Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated recognizing the tenth anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone as well as the fifth anniversary of his installation as Bishop of Saginaw. All are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Mass.
It was on July 28, 2009, at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Saginaw that nearly 1,000 people, including cardinals, (arch) bishops, priests and faithful from across the Diocese of Saginaw and around the country, witnessed the installation of Bishop Cistone as the sixth Bishop of Saginaw. In his homily message on that day five years ago, Bishop Cistone shared the following:
“People keep asking me: “What will your priorities be as Bishop?” Without question, my chief priority will be that of promoting a deeper love and appreciation for the Eucharist. Part of this is the urgent task of drawing Catholics who have drifted away, back to the Church, back to the Mass and Sacraments, in order to have life and to know what it is that the Lord is telling us to do.”
In his first pastoral letter to the People of the Diocese of Saginaw, A Future Full of Hope, Bishop Cistone wrote in greater detail about his “chief priority” as Shepherd, while also sharing the foundation of his plan to strengthen the Church of Saginaw. At the very core of his plan’s success was the need for all priorities, whether related to diocesan, parish or personal life, to find their “source, meaning and grace” in the Eucharist. Leading by example, Bishop Cistone restored the 40 Hours devotion at the Cathedral and encouraged all parishes to provide opportunities for the faithful to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, so that they may come to know and love the Lord in a deeper and more meaningful way. In early 2012, Bishop Cistone instituted a monthly Holy Hour, which he continues to this day. He travels to a different church in the diocese each month to lead an hour of prayer, contemplation and adoration before the Eucharist.
The prayer intention of Bishop Cistone’s monthly Holy Hour remains the historic and monumental work of Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes. Announced in 2011, Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes engaged more than 600 pastors, pastoral administrators and parish members representing every parish across the 11-county diocese to assess the state of churches and develop recommendations for future parish life. In 2013, through the work of Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes Bishop Cistone announced decisions to restructure the parish communities of the diocese and designate use of churches to better serve the faithful. The parish restructuring plan, which is currently in its second year of implementation, is just one component of Bishop Cistone’s vision for a complete revitalization of the diocese. At the time he announced his final decisions, Bishop Cistone said:
“I saw a need to position ourselves in a way by which parish communities are re-invigorated, liturgically alive and actively engaged in outreach to those in need. We must creatively address the spiritual, moral and intellectual development of our youth. Most especially, we need to focus on the mission of evangelization.”
As new parish communities form, Bishop Cistone is mobilizing efforts for evangelization and outreach, including bringing in national experts to offer training for diocesan staff and parish leaders.
“We as a diocese, are at our own ‘threshold of faith-life.’ There could be no greater time for a ‘new evangelization’- a ‘re-evangelization’- within the Diocese of Saginaw. Every aspect of parish and diocesan life must be imbued with a spirit of evangelization. Pope Francis recently reminded Catholics that ‘All of us who are baptized are missionary disciples. We are called to become a living Gospel in the world.’”
In his own interactions — celebrating Mass, administering the Sacrament of Confirmation, leading pilgrims to the March for Life in Washington, D.C., hosting guests at the Bishop’s Ball and Golf Classic, praying outside the abortion clinic, ministering to migrant workers, speaking at community events and visiting Catholic schools — Bishop Cistone will continue to provide public witness to the Good News, inviting the people of the diocese to become ambassadors for the Lord Jesus Christ and to spend time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. He also will continue to provide leadership and support to his parishes, discerning and trusting in God’s will for the diocese and confidently reminding his flock that the future is full of hope.
“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Bishop Cistone was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1975. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and has a Master of Divinity degree from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, Pa. After 16 years in parish ministry, he served as dean of Formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary for two years, before being transferred to the archdiocesan administrative offices, where he was appointed vicar general and vicar for administration for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
On June 8, 2004, Pope (now Saint) John Paul II appointed then-Monsignor Cistone as an auxilary bishop for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Bishop Cistone was consecrated as a bishop on July 28, 2004. He chose for his episcopal motto a phrase from his daily devotion to Philadelphia’s Saint John Neumann: Father of Mercy and Love. He was appointed Bishop of Saginaw by Pope Benedict XVI on May 20, 2009 and installed as the sixth Bishop of Saginaw on July 28, 2009.
In addition to his many commitments across the Diocese of Saginaw, Bishop Cistone serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Relief Services. He also serves in leadership roles within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Michigan Catholic Conference.
Click here to view photos from Bishop Cistone's Installation Mass
Click here to read Bishop Cistone's homily from his Installation Mass
Click here to view video of Bishop entering the Cathedral for evening prayer the night before the Installation Mass