SAGINAW, Mich . — Bishop Joseph Cistone died in his home Tuesday morning, the Diocese of Saginaw has reported.
Local officials told reporters they received a 911 call from the bishop’s home Tuesday morning, adding that first responders found the bishop dead upon their arrival. The diocese said in a short statement that the bishop had died in his home during the night.
Bishop Cistone, 69, announced Feb. 1 that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, after undergoing tests for a persistent cough he’d experienced for months.
“The good news is that, since I have never been a smoker, it is a form of lung cancer which is treatable and potentially curable,” Bishop Cistone wrote in a February letter to his priests.
He announced at that time that he would undergo a treatment plan involving both chemotherapy and radiation. On Oct. 1 the diocese announced that the cancer had spread to other parts of Bishop Cistone’s body, and that he had begun an aggressive course of chemotherapy.
Diocesan officials said that the bishop was scheduled to undergo a cancer-related medical procedure on Tuesday.
Bishop Cistone was the sixth bishop of the Saginaw Diocese; he was appointed there in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI. Originally from Pennsylvania, Cistone was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 1975, where he also served as auxiliary bishop from 2004 to 2009.
In March Bishop Cistone’s home was raided by police, along with the diocesan chancery and cathedral rectory. Saginaw County’s assistant prosecutor at the time criticized the diocese for failing to cooperate in police investigations.
Police said the raid was executing a search warrant believed to be related to allegations of sexual abuse made against two priests of the diocese. One of those priests, Father Robert DeLand, will face a criminal trial next year.
Cistone’s funeral Mass will be celebrated Oct. 23 at Saginaw’s Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption. Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit will preside. The homily will be given by Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia.