The Coat of Arms of
The Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, D.D., V.G.
Titular Bishop of Case Mediane
Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Philadelphia
Per fess argent and azure, on a pile between in dexter base a capital M and in sinister base a lily, all counterchanged, in chief a Latin cross Or surmounted by two spears in saltire of the first , the one to dexter piercing a sponge, and in base a star of the second.
Bishop Cistone’s coat of arms includes several elements that recall his lifelong connection with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and highlight his devotion to the saints. The colors of the shield, horizontally white and blue (per fess argent and azure), and the pennant-shaped central element (called a pile) charged with a star, allude to the arms of the Archdiocese (Argent, a pile azure). At the top of the pile (in chief) there appears a cross, painted gold (Or), behind two crossed spears. This is the central element in the seal of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), and so it was prominent in the coat of arms of Saint John Neumann, the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia and a member of that Congregation. The passion of Christ is the ultimate sign of the Father’s mercy and love. As a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bishop Cistone has a deep personal devotion to Saint John Neumann, as he does to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The letter “M” in the bottom left portion of the shield (the dexter base) stands for the Blessed Mother, and is joined by a lily for Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary and Bishop Cistone’s baptismal patron. Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus, serve as models of Christian living and family life. The pile, its star, and the symbols for Mary and Joseph are all counter-changed; that is, they are blue where the field is white, and white where the field is blue. On a scroll below the shield appears the motto, “Father of Mercy and Love”.
The shield is ensigned with external elements that identify the bearer as a Bishop. A gold processional cross appears behind the shield. The galero or “pilgrim’s hat” is used heraldically in various colors and with specific numbers of tassels to indicate the rank of a bearer of a coat of arms. A bishop uses a green hat with three rows of green tassels.
The coat of arms of Bishop Cistone was designed and painted by Rev. Mr. Paul J. Sullivan, a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Providence (Rhode Island).