Philadelphia auxiliary named sixth bishop of Saginaw
Bishop Joseph R. Cistone / Cardinal Justin Rigali
Bishop Joseph R. Cistone / Cardinal Justin Rigali

.- The newly appointed Bishop of Saginaw, Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, who has spent the last five years as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said today that he is excited to lead the Michigan diocese and emphasized the importance of Eucharistic Adoration.

“Today, I commit myself to you, the faithful of the Diocese of Saginaw, to shepherd you in faith and love. I fully trust in the providence of God and I know it is the hand of God which has placed me in your midst to lead and serve,” he said in a statement provided by the Diocese of Saginaw.

While the bishop noted that he has much to learn about his new diocese, he said that what he does know is that “Jesus Christ must be at the center of all we do: all our prayers...all our thoughts...all our actions.”

“Pope John Paul II, in his great encyclical on the Eucharist, reminded us that ‘The Church draws her life from the Eucharist.’ And so, what I can tell you is that I will do everything possible to foster ever greater devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, whether it be by encouraging greater attendance at Mass, more worthy reception of the Eucharist, or prayerful adoration in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.”

According to the Diocese of Saginaw, Bishop Cistone, 60, was born in Philadelphia and completed his seminary studies at St. Charles Borromeo in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.   He was ordained a priest in 1975. 

In 2004, he appointed as an auxiliary bishop for Philadelphia and, after serving there for five years, will now become the sixth bishop of Saginaw.

While the bishop noted that he is greatly anticipating his new position, he acknowledged that leaving Philadelphia, his home, may be a transition.

“I have served as a priest of Philadelphia for 34 years, five of those years as an auxiliary bishop. So, it will be an adjustment to move away from my parents, my family, relatives and friends, and, in particular, my brother priests. I ask your patience with me during this time of transition.”

Archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali expressed his joy at the news of the appointment in a statement from his archdiocese saying, “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.”

“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," the cardinal said.

Bishop Cistone will lead 119,000 Catholics and 100 priests in his new diocese.

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