Chaput mourns death of bishop who grew up in Tacony

Tacony native Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, who was a priest in Philadelphia for 34 years, passed away Oct. 15.

Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, a Tacony native and leader of the Catholic diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, died last week. He was 69 and had what was believed to be a treatable form of lung cancer.

“I was saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Bishop Joseph Cistone of the Diocese of Saginaw earlier today,” Archbishop Charles Chaput said.

Cistone, who died Oct. 15, was a priest in Philadelphia for 34 years before being assigned by Pope Benedict in 2009 to become the sixth bishop of Saginaw.

“May God grant Bishop Cistone the gift of eternal life, and give peace and consolation to all those who loved, admired and respected him,” Chaput said.

Cardinal Justin Rigali headed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at the time of Cistone’s elevation to the post in Saginaw.

Cistone’s home parish was Our Lady of Consolation, and he was a 1967 graduate of Father Judge High School. He is a member of the Father Judge Hall of Fame. He got his inspiration to become a priest from the Rev. James Rosica, longtime pastor at Our Lady of Consolation.

Cistone spent 16 years serving in parish ministry at Epiphany of Our Lord in South Philadelphia, St. Jerome in Holme Circle, St. Jude in Chalfont, St. Francis of Assisi in Norristown and St. Bernard in Mayfair before being appointed as dean of formation for the theology division of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.

Pope John Paul II named Cistone a monsignor in 1998.

Cistone was the vicar for administration and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1998 to 2009. He was ordained an auxiliary bishop in 2004. ••