Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Christmas Greeting

Once again, I have the joy of wishing you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas ... May our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth that we might live with Him forever in the kingdom, bless you ...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I talked about Christmas with Art Lewis

I spent time live on the air on WSGW 790 AM Newsradio yesterday morning with Art Lewis. We talked a lot a bout Christmas. You can listen to the podcast on the station's website.

Rest in Peace, Father Larry ...

Last Friday, I celebrated the funeral Mass for Father Larry Pashak, Pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, who served the people of the Diocese of Saginaw as a priest for 47 years.

Father Larry was among the first priests of the Diocese of Saginaw whom I got to know after arriving here as Bishop in 2009. I especially looked forward to his generous hospitality when I would go to St. Agnes Church to celebrate the monthly diocesan youth Mass, Feed the Fire. He also was very devoted to our seminarians and hosted a cookout for them in the summer.

I am grateful to God for giving me the chance to sit down and spend time with Father Larry on the previous Friday - a week ago; the day before he died. He had indicated to me recently that he was considering retirement and we met in my office to discuss his plans. We talked a lot about his priesthood and the many ways he served the Diocese of Saginaw. All along the way, I expressed my deep gratitude for all he has done to serve the Lord and the People of God here in this diocese. I could not have thanked him enough.

On Friday, Father Larry's family said goodbye to a good brother and a good uncle. The people of St. Agnes Parish said goodbye to a good pastor. The priests of the Diocese of Saginaw said goodbye a beloved brother. And we all said goodbye to a dear friend.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thank You

A BIG THANK YOU to the young women from Nouvel Catholic Central High School who showed up outside my office today and sang a beautiful "Thank You" song to me and presented me with beautiful hand-made cards signed by students from each of the Saginaw Area Catholic Schools. It was a great surprise! Thank you, for brightening my day :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rest in Peace

Following our Church celebration of All Saints and All Souls days at the beginning of this month, I joined my brother priests and deacons today at the Center for Ministry in Saginaw to celebrate Mass and pray for the souls of the deceased Bishops, Priests, and Deacons who have served in the Diocese of Saginaw since it was established in 1938.

May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.

A list of our brothers who sleep in Christ can be found as it was posted on the DoS News Blog today.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Come, let's March for Life together!

Join me and hundreds more from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw on January 22-25 at the 2011 March for Life in Washington, D.C., marking the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade. Adult accommodations are available. All participants age 18 and over must have completed VIRTUS safe environment training, a Background Check, and signed Standards of Ministerial Behavior for those Working with Children and Young People. For more information, go to

Also, check out my Respect Life Month message on the DoS News Blog.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stay tuned...

Due to technical difficulties on the diocesan center’s computer network, the DoS News (Blog) and Bishop’s Blog have not had regular updates in the last few weeks. Please continue to check back as work is being done to address the problem. In the meantime, stay connected by visiting the Facebook pages for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw and Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tune in your radio dials ...

You will be able to find me on local radio during the next two days: 

Catholic Radio: This afternoon (Monday), I will be on air live with Al Kresta between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. on Ave Maria Radio WMAX 1440 AM.

Saginaw Radio: Tomorrow morning (Tuesday), I will be on air live with Art Lewis from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on WSGW NewsRadio 790 AM and FM Talk  100.5.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Comissioned Lay Ministry and Evangelization

I was blessed last Sunday to celebrate in the rich tradition of Commissioned Lay Ministry here in the Diocese of Saginaw. This formation program, began by my predecessor, the Most Rev. Francis F. Reh (the fourth Bishop of Saginaw) in 1978, has proven to be a true gift to the people of this local church. 

I was honored to commission eight men and women for the first time. Congratulations and thank you to Joanne Dana, Terrie DeWaele, Pamela Kahler, Linda Oeschger, Loretta Puvalowski, Denise Ryman, Robert Stoma, and Wallace Tenbusch - the Class of 2010. In addition, 50 others re-committed themselves for another three years and 17 men and women were granted permanent status as commissioned  lay ministers. 

In my homily at Sunday's Mass at the Cathedral, I challenged our commissioned lay ministers to grow into the evangelists our Church so dearly needs today. I truly believe that we need to develop our programs, attention and sight on our brothers and sisters, who, for whatever reason, are no longer worshiping with us. If we are truly missioned and commissioned to preach the Good News, then to whom better can we do it than our brothers and sisters who have lost a sense of the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and the grace of the Sacraments in their lives? Where could we do any better work than that?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Celebrating Mass at a migrant camp

I recently celebrated Mass with one of our migrant worker communities at their camp near Caro. There were about 50 people in attendance, including migrant families, members of the local Sacred Heart Parish and diocesan staff from the Office of Christian Service. After Mass, I was treated to a delicious homemade Mexican dinner. I look forward to my next opportunity to celebrate our faith with members of this hardworking and dedicated community.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Knights of Columbus help Diocese of Saginaw bring awareness to issue of hunger

I was at the East Side Soup Kitchen in Saginaw on Thursday to accept a check from the Knights of Columbus on behalf of the Diocese of Saginaw. I want to thank the Knights of Columbus for their generous gift of $4,023. The donation allowed me to make contributions to eight soup kitchens and food pantries across the diocese and bring awareness to the issue of hunger in our local communities.

While I was at the soup kitchen, I was able to work a lunch-shift on the serving line, greeting and serving food to all the adults, teens and children who came for a meal.

It was a very spiritual experience. You look into the eyes of the people who are there — people of all ages and walks of life — and you just know that you are meeting Christ.

Thank you to all who work, volunteer and support efforts to feed the hungry.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cooking with Mom

My dear parents have been in Saginaw spending some of these summer weeks with me. It has been wonderful to be with them.

While they are not his hometown Philadelphia Phillies, my father enjoyed the evening we spent at Dow Diamond cheering on our own Great Lakes Loons. We had a nice trip Up North to beautiful Mackinac Island - what a treasure! And my parents love going to Frankenmuth. If they could fit Bronner's Christmas Wonderland in their suitcases, they would probably take it home with them.

Today, they came to work with me to the Diocesan Center so my mother could treat the diocesan staff to some Cistone Family recipes. She even put on a small cooking demonstration in the Center for Ministry dining room. I am not sure who enjoyed themselves more - my parents being entertained by the staff or the staff being entertained by my parents. It was a lot of fun.

My mother shared her recipes for Italian Wedding Cookies (which she is making in the photo below), Filled Cookies, Chocolate Cookies, Ricotti Cookies, Cranberry Mold, and Josephine's Potato Salad, Manicotti for Company and the Italian pasta "Cavetelli."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Join me at the 2010 Bishop's Charity Golf Classic

I had a lot of fun shooting this video invitation to the fifth annual Bishop's Charity Golf Classic. I am sure the event itself will be even more enjoyable!

Click here to download the registration and sponsorship form and participate in this year's Charity Golf Classic.

And, please, don't forget to pray for our seminarians and priests.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Profession of Perpetual Vows with Religious Sisters of Mercy

On Monday I was invited to celebrate Mass for the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma and participate in the ceremonial profession of Perpetual Vows of Sister Mary Christa Nutt.

See more photos from the event on the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw Facebook page and watch an excerpt of my homily below.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Brother Bishops

Earlier this month, I was blessed to participate in the episcopal ordination of the Most Rev. Michael J. Fitzgerald and the Most Rev. John J. McIntyre, who were recently appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as Auxiliary Bishops in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

This episcopal ordination held a unique blessing for me as it was the first time that I, as a Bishop - in my role as one of the successors of the Apostles, - had the honor to serve as a Co-Consecrator of these new bishops along with Cardinal John Foley, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia and Principal Consecrator.

Canon law perscribes that "unless the Apostolic See has granted a dispensation, the principal bishop consecrator in an episcopal consecration is to be joined by at least two consecrating bishops; it is especially appropriate, however, that all the bishops present consecrate the elect together." (Can. 1014)

You can see highlights of the August 6 ordination of Bishop Fitzgerald and Bishop McIntyre in the YouTube video below as posted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:

And later this week, on Wednesday, I will be at the Installation of the Most Rev. Joseph P. McFadden as the new Bishop of  the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa.

Bishop McFadden and I are "twin bishops," meaning that we were consecrated bishops at the same Mass, like Bishop Fitzgerald and Bishop McIntyre earlier this month. Bishop McFadden and I were ordained bishops on July 28, 2004 and served together as Auxiliary Bishops in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia until my appointment as Bishop of Saginaw in 2009.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Registration is now open for the 2010 Bishop's Charity Golf Classic

Join us for the 2010 Bishop's Charity Golf Classic to raise funds for seminarian education. Download the flyer to become a participating sponsor, register to attend the dinner banquet and silent auction, or compete in one of the two golf outing opportunities.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blessing at St. James, Bay City

On Sunday morning, I celebrated the Eucharist with the people of St. James Parish in Bay City and blessed a new statue of their patron that now graces the church campus. That morning, the community also sent fourthfor 15 missionaries from the parish who are doing the work of Christ in the African country of Zambia July 29 - Aug. 8. Check out the mission group's updates on the St. James website.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More than 100 people pray outside abortion clinic

I’m a deep believer in the power of prayer, and I want to thank all of those who joined me in prayer outside the Women’s Health Care Clinic today, Saturday July 10. I plan to pray outside the clinic again, and I encourage others to go there and pray for the values of life. A simple prayer, without saying another word, is a very powerful thing to do.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

50th Anniversary Mass for St. Maria Goretti Parish, Bay City

I was great to visit with the parishioners at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Bay City on Sunday, June 27, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of their parish. Thank you to parishioner Teresa Loree for sharing photos she took of the occasion. See more of her photos on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Our Lady, Chesaning

Today I was able to celebrate Mass and visit with students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Chesaning as they prepare to conclude their school year. It is always a blessing to be in the company of young people. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cemetery Blessing in Frankenmuth

It was great to be in Frankenmuth on Sunday to bless the first Catholic cemetery. What a wonderful celebration for the people of Blessed Trinity Parish!

See more photos here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

On this day, 1 year ago ...

Pope Benedict XVI announced he had selected Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Cistone to become sixth bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Celebrating my 1st Birthday as Bishop of Saginaw!

The diocesan staff surprised me with cake again today while I was at a luncheon with priests following the annual Senior Priests' Mass at the Center for Ministry. ( I told you they love any excuse to have a party!)

With yesterday being the anniversary of my priestly ordination and today being my birthday, I often enjoy asking children how it could be possible that I was ordained when I was 25, but didn't celebrate my first Mass until I was 26. Their first response is often that it must have been because I needed more training. (Don't you just love kids?!) The truth is that I celebrated my first Mass on my 26th birthday, which was the next day following my ordination in 1975.

Thank you to all of you who have wished me a happy anniversary and happy birthday during this, my first year as Bishop of Saginaw. God love you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

35 Years as a Priest!

The diocesan staff celebrated the 35th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood - May 17, 1975 -  with cake this morning at the Diocesan Center. (Boy, these people will use any excuse to have a party!)

Homily from Friday's Ordination to the Order of Deacon (and more)

Friday, April 30, 2010

From the 2010 Bishop's Charity Ball ...

Tonight I sang Lefty Frizzell's 1964 No. 1 country hit "Saginaw, Michigan" for the participants of the 2010 Bishop's Charity Ball at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw. The Bishop's Charity Ball benefits Catholic schools and parish religious education programs. This year's event was the first for me since I installed as the Diocese of Saginaw's sixth bishop in July 2009. The Communications Office has promised more photos and uploads from tonight's ball to be posted online next week. 

You also can read about this year's Bishop Murphy Award winner.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ground Breaking at St. Brigid School in Midland

I had the honor today of breaking ground on a very exciting building expansion project at St. Brigid of Kildare School in downtown Midland. Read more about it at see videos on the DoS News blog.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From FAITH Saginaw: Raising holy families is 'domestic engineering'

As a young priest, I was engaged in parish visitations. It was customary each year for the priests to visit the homes of all registered parishioners. Besides spending a few minutes with parishioners in their homes, particularly those who were not accustomed to coming to Mass or practicing their faith, we also took the time to conduct a yearly census.

We collected various information, e.g. who lived in the home, ages, educational background, sacramental history and practice, as well as occupations and other helpful data. In order to fit the information on a small census card, we had to use codes. When it came to “occupation,” “P” meant Professional; L=Laborer; M=Management; HW=Housewife; and so on.

In one home, next to the name of the wife and mother, my predecessor wrote “DE.” I didn’t know what this abbreviation meant, so I asked the woman if she knew. With an air of satisfaction, the woman said: “I told the priest last year, I did not like the term ‘housewife’ because it doesn’t reflect the dignity of what I do in my life. So I told Father I was a “Domestic Engineer!”

While she was referring to her everyday responsibilities within the home, I do not think she understood just how “theologically correct” her response was. The Second Vatican Council, when speaking of family life, referred to the family as the “Domestic Church.”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chrism Mass 2010

Below you will find the text of my homily given at today's Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption:

I want to thank all of you for joining us here at the Cathedral for this Chrism Mass. I offer a particular welcome to all the young people who have gathered here. I hope you find this ceremony informative and inspiring.

In a special way I wish to greet you, my brother priests. This Mass speaks distinctively to us who have been called by God and graced by the gift of the Priesthood. I pray it is a day of renewal and blessings for all of you.

In the Chrism Mass, the Church celebrates two important elements associated with our faith: the Blessing of Oils and the Renewal of Priestly Promises. Ordinarily, the Chrism Mass takes place on Holy Thursday, before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. For obvious reasons, this is not always possible for dioceses like our own where distance makes it difficult for all the priests to gather on Holy Thursday. However, there is an important connection between these two liturgical celebrations, which I will explain.

Click here to view the text of the entire homily.

Also watch for photos of today's Mass to be posted on Facebook!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Holy Week Schedule

I will celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt Ave., in Saginaw. My schedule is as follows:
  • 10 a.m. Sunday: Mass, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
  • 10:30 a.m., Tuesday:  Chrism Mass
  •  7 p.m., Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper
  • 1 p.m., Friday: Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
  •   9 p.m.,  Saturday: Mass, The Easter Vigil
  •  10 a.m., April 4: Mass, Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Visit to St. Mary, Alma

I visited with students at St. Mary School in Alma on Friday, March 19. What fun! I also met many great people from the parish community there after celebrating daily Mass. Principal Lisa Seeley sent over some photos from the day. Enjoy!

Sunday Mass at St. Hedwig, Bay City

I celebrated Mass at St. Hedwig in Bay City on Sunday, March 14. Many thanks to parishioner George Thomas for sending some photos to my office!

Friday, March 19, 2010

I have 'fans'?

The Communications Office decided to celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph, by creating a "Fan Page" for me on Facebook. This should be interesting!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dedication of New Altar in Beal City

I was blessed to celebrate Mass on Sunday with the people of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Beal City. While there, I dedicated and consecrated a beautiful new altar, depositing, within it, the relics of three martyrs, anointing its surface with sacred chrism oil, and incensing it. Enjoy the photos below, which were provided courtesy of the parish.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mass and Visit with Students at Sacred Heart School in Gladwin

I visited today with students at Sacred Heart School in Gladwin and celebrated Mass with them, their families and other parishioners there. While Catholic Schools Week is celebrated across our nation this week I have had the chance to visit many of our schools during the past two weeks and I am looking forward to visiting others next week. So, Catholic Schools Week is really three weeks to me! What a joyful blessing it is to spend time with the young Church! Enjoy the video post of my homily today and pictures from my visit to the school.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Concluding our March for Life pilgrimage at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Posted below is my homily from the vigil Mass that preceded our departure from Washington D.C. following the March for Life. In all, we were about 650 pilgrims - gathered in the Crypt Church of the Basilica - from the Diocese of Saginaw, our neighboring Diocese of Grand Rapids, and brothers and sisters from the Diocese of Rockford, Ill.

First Reading: Neh 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Preparing for our pilgrimage to the March for Life

Posted below is my homily from today’s morning Mass with 350 diocesan pilgrims preparing to travel to the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. It is fitting that today also is the Feast of St. Agnes, a young martyr, who was not ashamed to be a bold witness of her faith in Jesus Christ.

First Reading: 1 Sm 18:6-9; 19:1-7
Gosepl: Mk 3:7-12


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview with WNEM TV 5 and WJRT TV 12

I was interviewed today by WNEM TV 5’s Tia Ewing and WJRT TV 12's Rebecca Trylch about Monday’s announcement that the Saginaw Area Catholic Schools system would be consolidating its four elementary/middle schools — St. Helen, SS. Peter & Paul, St. Stephen and St. Thomas Aquinas — into two buildings on March 2. The complete interview is below:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday was a fun day with the Spirit!

Yesterday I had the privileged of participating in Faith Night festivities at the Saginaw Spirit hockey game. I reflected on Christian sportsmanship with more than 300 people gathered with their families and friends for the pregame program, which also included an inspirational message about community service from Jimmy E. Greene and some wonderful musical performed by Lavel Jackson. I also had the honor of dropping a ceremonial first puck on the ice. I met some great young people and the famous mascot Steagle Colbeagle the Eagle, and watched an exciting hockey game. I even got my very own Spirit Jersey with "B. CISTONE" on the back! Unfortunately, the Spirit lost 3-2, but it was a fun day all-and-all. Enjoy the photos and the video from the day’s activities!