SAGINAW - Bishop Joseph R. Cistone issued the following statement this morning upon news of Pope Benedict XVI's appointment of the Reverend Monsignor Bernard A. Hebda as the fourth Bishop of Gaylord:
"It is with great joy that I extend sincere and prayerful best wishes to Bishop-elect Bernard A. Hebda on his appointment as Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord. On behalf of the Diocese of Saginaw, I welcome Bishop-elect Hebda as our new neighbor to the North. I am especially pleased for his appointment for two reasons. First, I am no longer the 'new kid on the block' as a Bishop in Michigan; and, second, he is from my home state of Pennsylvania."
"From my own experience, I can assure Bishop-elect Hebda that the faithful of Gaylord will receive him in the same way that I have been warmly received here in Saginaw. He will find a vibrant, faithful and loving local Church within this beautiful region of the country. I look forward to working together with Bishop-elect Hebda in the Michigan Catholic Conference and in the many pastoral issues which we, as bishops, address together. I invite all the faithful of the Diocese of Saginaw to join me in praying that Bishop-elect Hebda’s ministry will be grace-filled and joyful."
"I take this opportunity to express deep gratitude to Bishop Patrick Cooney for his outstanding leadership as shepherd of the Diocese of Gaylord these many years. I know from my own brief time here among the Bishops of Michigan, as well as from my understanding of his work with the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services, that Bishop Cooney has been a faithful bishop and a great blessing to his beloved community in Gaylord and to the Church at large. I wish him many joyful and healthy years as he begins a well-deserved retirement."