New Bishop: We look to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary...

These are excepts:
Good afternoon everyone. Once again, I express my gratitude to all of you for your presence at this installation liturgy.

I chose to celebrate today the Votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Image and Mother of the Church: in part, because our Diocese and our Cathedral are dedicated to Our Lady, under the title of Mary of the Assumption; and because Our Lady of Consolation was the parish in which I grew up and discovered my own vocation. Most of all, because all graces flow to us from Jesus through His Mother Mary, I would do well to begin my ministry as your Bishop under her inspiration and guidance. She is our devoted Mother and the perfect image of how we should imitate her Son in our lives. Mary has shown us the way and where she has gone, we hope to follow...

Ultimately, you and I are called to serve the Lord...the Master...with all our hearts, all our souls, all our strength and all our minds. The Lord is the one who leads and direct us. As Catholics, we believe that He does so through the Word of Scripture and the authentic teaching of the Church. In this context, obedience and docility are very meaningful and life-giving words. The world worships “originality”and “creativity” as ideals. The concept of being someone else’s “personal servant” grates against our understanding of freedom and self-activation. We do not like being subservient to another. Yet, this life of service, of obedience and docility, is precisely the way in which we are called to relationship with Jesus Christ. Saint Paul said of himself that he was a “bond slave of Jesus Christ.”...the property of the disposal of Jesus. Saint Peter referred to himself as a “slave of Jesus” and Saint James called himself a “servant of Jesus.” Our whole identity is wrapped up in being the personal servant of Jesus, for his honor and his glorification, and for our salvation...

You and I are called to a life of service: whether a diocesan bishop, priest, deacon, seminarian, religious or lay man or woman...young or old. We are all called to serve the Master, to preach and teach and live the truths of the gospel. In doing so, we can certainly be creative in our method but must be careful not to recreate a different message. By serving the Master, we serve the Lord, who knows what we do not know and sees what we can not see. And, the Lord has one singular agenda and goal in mind...our ultimate salvation. It is here, then, that the true, authentic teaching of the Church must guide us.

In one sentence, Mary teaches the servants and us as well the secret to life as servants of her Son, Jesus Christ: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Of course, the big question is: “How do we know what He is telling us? How can we know God’s will.” The answer can be found here, in the Eucharist. Pope John Paul II, in preparation for the year of the Eucharist, wrote a beautiful encyclical which began with these words: “The Church draws her life from the Eucharist.” Without the Eucharist, we have no life. Not a new teaching but a reaffirmation of a core principle of our Faith: “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you have no life in you.”

But, not only does the Church draw her life from the Eucharist; the Church, you and I, also draw our identity from the Eucharist. We come to know who Jesus is and who we are as his body through authentic Eucharist. We come to know what God wants of us by a better understanding and appreciation of the life of Jesus as proclaimed each time the Eucharist is celebrated. In the proclamation of the Word and the sacred prayers which envelop the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as well as our worthy reception of Holy Communion, we come to know the true Jesus, the Suffering Servant, the Lamb of God, our Lord and Master... and His will for us. That is why the Church shows such care for the elements of the Mass, how it is celebrated, the words spoken, the posture and attitude of the priests and people. That is why we priests and deacons must show special care for our preached words and daily lives. All our actions as servants of the Lord flow from and are enlivened by our understanding and faithful celebration and reception of the Eucharist.Not only do we come to know Jesus through the celebration of Mass but also through contemplation and adoration of the Lord in the Eucharist. The Second Vatican Council teaches : “...the devotion which leads the faithful to visit the Blessed Sacrament draws them into an ever deeper participation in the Paschal Mystery...Dwelling with Christ our Lord, they enjoy His intimate friendship and pour out their hearts before Him for themselves and their dear ones, and pray for the peace and salvation of the world. They offer their entire lives with Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit, and receive in this wonderful exchange an increase of faith, hope and charity...The faithful should, therefore, strive to worship Christ our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in harmony with their way of life.” At Cana, Jesus gave wine to the guests. In the Eucharist, He gives Himself to us. And through the Eucharist, we will come to know God’s will in our lives and find the strength to live it.

Perhaps one gift I do bring with me is my experience of growing up in an Archdiocese which was blessed with the leadership and inspiration of a canonized saint...Saint John Neumann, the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. It was Bishop Neumann who instilled within us, through the celebration of Eucharistic devotion known as the Forty Hours, a love and appreciation for contemplation and adoration of our Lord and Master in the Blessed Sacrament.

People keep asking me: “What will your priorities be as Bishop?” Without question, my chief priority will be that of promoting a deeper love and appreciation for the Eucharist. Part of this is the urgent task of drawing Catholics who have drifted away, back to the Church, back to the Mass and Sacraments, in order to have life and to know what it is that the Lord is telling us to do.

Jesus asked Mary: “How does your concern affect me?’ Well, we know that every concern which Mary brings on our behalf to Jesus, He takes to Himself. The concerns and challenges which face us as a Church today are many and complex. While I do not have ready made answers, I firmly believe that, through the Eucharist...our joyful celebration, our worthy reception and our prayerful adoration...,we will find the direction and strength to respond to God’s will as we address the critical issues and challenges which we face as a Church.

Gathered together in prayer in greater numbers, the Eucharist will be our hope. The Eucharist will humbly lead us to repentance and forgiveness. The Eucharist will guide us in our efforts to strengthen Catholic education for our children, both in Catholic and non-Catholic schools, as well as our adults. The Eucharist will inspire us to find ways to cope with the mounting unemployment and instability in our communities. The Eucharist will open our hearts to reach out more generously to the poor and needy, the sick and elderly. The Eucharist will instill within us a deep compassion for those who are victimized in this world, especially those abused as children by servants in the Church. The Eucharist will help us better comprehend and be more sensitive to their pain, their suffering and their on-going needs. In all these areas and more, it will be essential for all of us, together around the table of the Lord, to come to know God’s will and what it is that Lord is telling us to do.

Coupled with all these priorities is the need to continue our efforts to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life, particularly vocations to the diocesan priesthood. “Without the priesthood there is no Eucharist; and, without the Eucharist there is no Church.” ...

In this Year of the Priesthood, I invite my brother priests in a special way to devote themselves to greater holiness, deeper prayer and generous service. I invite our deacons, seminarians, religious and laity to be one with me in serving the Lord and serving his Church. In a special way, I invite our young people to respond to the call of Jesus to serve the Church, generously, unselfishly, with undivided hearts.

And so, my dear friends of Saginaw, here we go!. Here we begin, together, a new chapter in the life of this wonderful diocese. Nourished by the Eucharist, and, through the intercession of our patroness, Mary of the Assumption, may we be faithful servants of the Master and have the courage and faith to “Do whatever he tells us!” God Love You!

Bishop Joseph Cistone

Mag, you post the best stuff!
That was very beautiful! Looks like a bishop who has his priorities straight to me! Focus on the Eucharist, priesthood, vocations for sisters, bringing fallen-away Catholic back to the Church....this is a great man. Also note how everything goes back to Jesus and serving Him. HE presents the our faith with God in a Christ-centric rather than man-centric (you all know what I am talking about) way.

I only hope he is open to the Gregorian form of the mass, however.
:chleader: :chleader:
Contrast this to my Bishop who says "the Mission and purpose of the Church is to serve the poor in third world countries that the insatiable  US has exploited". Never a mention of the Eucharist. I am almost convinced my Bishop doesnt even believe in the real presence. He spends more time in Guatamala in non clerical clothing usualy a T-Shirt and flip flops(he loves to post pics of him in our Dioceses' newspapaer) than he does taking care of his diocese.
Taken from the official diocesan blog at

Quote:Bishop Cistone, 60, was appointed as the sixth Bishop of Saginaw by Pope Benedict XVI on May 20 to succeed the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, who was appointed as Archbishop of Saint Louis, Mo., in April after serving as the fifth Barhop of Saginaw since 2005. [my emphasis added]

Your Excellency, I'll have another beer, please!

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