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May 19, 2009


Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, announces that Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan.

Bishop Cistone is a native of Philadelphia whose home parish was Our Lady of Consolation in the Tacony section of the city. He has been Vicar for Administration and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 1998. He currently oversees the Secretariat for Catholic Human Services and the Secretariat for Temporal Services for Cardinal Rigali and has pastoral care for parishes in the Philadelphia - South Region as well as a portion of Delaware County.

Cardinal Rigali said, "It is with great joy that I announce Bishop Cistone's appointment by Pope Benedict XVI as Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan. With this appointment the Holy Father demonstrates his great trust and confidence in Bishop Cistone to carry his love of the Church with him to the faithful of Saginaw. We celebrate this announcement for all of those eagerly awaiting Bishop Cistone's arrival in his new Diocese but at the same time we will miss his wisdom, assistance and faithful service here in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In the 34 years since his Ordination, he has ministered with great pastoral care and commitment. Always joyful in his priesthood, Bishop Cistone has shared generously shared his administrative gifts and has served with unwavering devotion.

I am grateful to Bishop Cistone for his constant willingness to serve the Church of Philadelphia and for his assistance to me as Vicar for Administration and his pastoral care of the parishes in his episcopal region. I know that I am joined by my fellow bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious and all the faithful of the Archdiocese in offering Bishop Cistone my warmest congratulations. We join together in offering our prayers that God will watch over Bishop Cistone and bless him as he shepherds his new Diocese."

Bishop Cistone is in Saginaw, Michigan today and is holding a news conference. He will be installed as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, the fifth anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination. Bishop Cistone said in a statement, "As I did five years ago at the announcement of my appointment as an auxiliary bishop, I again call upon Mary, our Mother, Saint John Neumann and Saint Katharine Drexel to intercede for me to Jesus Christ our Lord that I may be a good and holy bishop, generous and kind to those in my care, faithful to the Word of God and the Magisterium, and always open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit."

Bishop Cistone also said, "It is both humbling and exciting to be given the opportunity to serve God's people as a diocesan bishop. It even occurred to me that I will no longer have a titular see, but that my personal coat of arms will be joined to that of the Diocese of Saginaw, expressing our oneness in faith and mission. Having been in administration of a large archdiocese for 16 years, I fully appreciate the responsibilities and challenges which await me here in Saginaw. At the same time, I have also experienced the tremendous gift of God's providence and love which the bishop is blessed to share with his people. I am respectful of this new relationship with the good people of the Diocese of Saginaw and, with the grace of God, will do my best to lead and serve this flock as the Lord intends."

Cardinal Rigali will lead Solemn Evening Prayer as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia bids farewell to Bishop Cistone on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 5:00 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. A reception will follow. All are welcome to attend.

Biographical Information:
Joseph R. Cistone was born in Philadelphia in 1949, the son of Daniel A. and Josephine R. (Altomare) Cistone, Sr. He has two brothers, Daniel and Anthony. He attended Our Lady of Consolation Parish Elementary School and is a 1967 graduate of Father Judge High School. He entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and was ordained in 1975. Father Cistone served as parochial vicar in the following parishes: Epiphany of Our Lord, Philadelphia; Saint Jerome, Philadelphia; Saint Jude, Chalfont; Saint Francis of Assisi, Norristown; Saint Bernard, Philadelphia. He served as Dean of Formation for the Theology Division, Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. He was appointed Vicar for Administration and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in February 1998 and named an Honorary Prelate (Monsignor) by Pope John Paul II in April 1998.

Monsignor Cistone was Ordained to the Episcopacy by Cardinal Justin Rigali at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on July 28, 2004. Bishop Cistone serves on the following Committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Committee for Protection of Children and Young People; Cultural Diversity in the Church; Subcommittee for African-American Affairs and Committee on Budget and Finance.


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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