Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pray with us as we prepare for ordination tomorrow

The four include Deacons (from left to right) J. Marcel Portelli, Robert P. Schikora,
Nathan E. Harburg, and Edwin C. Dwyer.

I will be making a Holy Hour from 5-6 p.m. tonight with the four deacons who will receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders tomorrow. Join with us in prayer, wherever you may be, as we prepare for ordination.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ordination of transitional deacons

I had the great privilege of ordaining the Rev. Mr. Alberto Vargas (left) and Rev. Mr. Thomas Held (right) as transitional deacons Friday, May 13, at the Cathedral.

Click here to view more photos from ordination.

My homily for the Ordination Mass is below:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bishop Cistone announces $5.7 million investment to support Catholic high schools in Bay City, Saginaw

‘Legacy of Faith’ campaign will provide students with superior environment for learning and formation as they grow into disciples of Christ, future leaders

SAGINAW — During an afternoon press conference at the Diocesan Center, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced the public phase of a major gifts campaign that will benefit two Catholic high schools located within the Diocese of Saginaw.

In a room full of campaign supporters and diocesan and school staff, Bishop Cistone stated that a combined $4.1 million had been secured for infrastructure enhancements at All Saints Central High School, 217 S. Monroe St., in Bay City, and Nouvel Catholic Central High School, 2555 Wieneke Rd., in Saginaw. An additional $1.6 million has been pledged for tuition assistance and school operations.

“Catholic schools remain our strongest means of forming, developing, and educating our Catholic youth,” Bishop Cistone said. “The strength of our Catholic Church is dependent upon our ability to provide quality and affordable Catholic education in a Catholic school setting. I am committed to making certain that there will be a strong Catholic school program in our diocese for generations to come.”

The infrastructure upgrades at Nouvel will take academic excellence to a new level with the introduction of state-of-the-art learning spaces and laboratories, the renovation of existing classrooms and the removal of the school’s temporary annex building. The phase one investment is $3 million.

All Saints will continue its renowned provision of innovative education, with building enhancements, including a new heating and ventilation system. The physical improvements are phase-one of a multi-phase renovation and expansion project that will provide students with a superior environment for learning and faith formation. The phase one investment is $1.1 million.

Both projects are designed with environmentally friendly building practices and materials, and are expected to be complete when students return to school in the fall.

The Legacy of Faith campaign started in June of 2008 with a feasibility study to identify priority needs. Campaign co-chairs helped to secure generous funds for phase one of the project; teachers and school staff were among the first to support the initiative.

As the campaign moves into its public phase, pledges can be made through the Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan. A link to that website will be available at

The Office of Catholic Schools will continue to partner with parishes and schools to analyze and identify the infrastructure and educational needs of Catholic schools throughout the diocese.

There are 3,400 students enrolled in 22 Catholic schools located across the 11-county Diocese of Saginaw.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letter to members of the St. Valentine parish community

(The following letter was shared with members of the St. Valentine parish community during Masses this past weekend.)

My Dear Parishioners,

As you may know, this week I announced that I had approved a recommendation submitted by leaders of St. Valentine Parish, in particular leaders of the parish school, that St. Valentine Catholic School close at the conclusion of the current school year, June 2011. I realize there is no way in which I can sufficiently ease the sadness you must feel at this time. Yet, I felt compelled to express to you my affection, my prayerful support, and my solidarity with you.

Many f actors are converging at this time in our diocesan history which currently affect our Catholic schools throughout the Diocese. Among the many factors are declining enrollment, unemployment, shrinking financial resources and escalating costs. I greatly admire the extraordinary efforts which parishes and parishioners have made and continue to make in order to maintain their local schools. I commend these efforts and good intentions. Nonetheless, the reality remains. I firmly believe that if we do not address these issues now and make the difficult, painful choices to consolidate resources, we face the very loss of Catholic education itself.

I am most respectful of the 61-year legacy of St. Valentine School and grateful for the outstanding support of the school by this parish family. Your school has been a source of faith and knowledge that continues to shine in the lives of all the students who were formed and educated in this program. It is my understanding that St. Valentine Parish will collaborate with neighboring parishes so that children from here may be welcomed and cared for in the nearby Catholic schools. I hope that the parents and students currently enrolled in St. Valentine School will make every effort to continue their Catholic school education with these opportunities.

May our Lord continue to bless you and all your loved ones and may Mary our Mother watch over you always.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, D.D.
Bishop of Saginaw