Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In Bay City, "MoJo" Goes "Rockstar"

The ink still dry on the announcement, Joe Cistone got a standing-room welcome [video] as Ken Untener's latest successor in Mid-Michigan today (...and if seeing those two names in the same sentence doesn't make your head spin, nothing ever will):
More than 100 people waited with anticipation for Cistone, who arrived about 2 p.m. after visiting with the students at All Saints Central High School.

Upon hearing of Cistone's arrival, the crowd fell silent and stood at attention. He entered to applause and signs of welcome handed out by the diocese before his arrival.

"The way the kids treated me, you would have thought I was a rock star," Cistone told the standing-room-only crowd.

"He's here! He's here," shouted one woman as Cistone entered Langley Hall at St. James....

"With everyone applauding for me I have no place to go but down," Cistone began after the crowd was seated. "And, the way the kids treated me, you would have thought I was a rock star."...

On Wednesday, the crowd laughed with the bishop as he talked about his time in Philadelphia, getting the call telling him he was being named Bishop and taking questions from audience members on topics such as his favorite Italian dish and his plans for the diocese. The topic of sports also came up.

"Maybe that's why I was sent here - to pray for the Lions," Cistone joked.

As for his favorite fare, Cistone said he loves pasta, especially his mother's manicotti.

On a more serious note, Cistone said his plans for the Diocese include a continued focus on Catholic education and increased emphasis on the importance of the Eucharist. He said he will discover new priorities as he becomes more familiar with the diocese and its people.
Among the challenges awaiting the new arrival: maintaining the momentum of his immediate predecessor, Archbishop-elect Robert Carlson, whose four years in Saginaw included a spike in the diocese's contingent of seminarians from two to 30-plus.

Suffice it to say, it's a heady task ahead... so Go Joe.

PHOTO: Octavian Cantilli/Bay City Times