By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
Daniel and Josephine Cistone were not the least bit surprised when their middle son, Joseph, left home at age 18 to enter St. Charles Seminary in Wynnewood to study for the priesthood.
He hadn’t applied to any colleges while in his senior year at Father Judge, and he’d been a daily Mass-goer at his parish, Our Lady of Consolation Church in the Tacony section of city. He looked up to the priests there, Fathers James Rosica and George Ettore.
Coming from strong Catholic stock certainly helped his vocation. Daniel and Josephine, both 86 and Tacony-bred, were good role models. Both members of Consolation, he’d attended the parish school, then Northeast Catholic and Frankford High Schools. She went through the public schools – Disston, Harding and Frankford High.
Although they were from the same neighborhood, they met when they were 16 or 17, both volunteering with the Northeast Ambulance Corps.
“He was very handsome, a good person and a good Catholic,” Josephine recalls, or in plain words, good future husband material. But before he could become her husband, they had to wait for a little thing called World War II.
“I was in three years. I was with the Second Mechanized Cavalry fighting in Germany,” Daniel said.
They corresponded throughout the war and two months after Tech Sergeant Daniel Cistone got home in October 1945, they wed at Our Lady of Consolation.
They settled down in the parish. Their first son, Daniel, was born in 1947, Joseph followed in 1949 and, finally, Anthony in 1956.
Over the years Daniel Sr. operated a tailoring shop in the neighborhood, worked for a dry cleaner and at the old Sears Distribution Center on Roosevelt Boulevard in quality control. Josephine also held various jobs, and ultimately was an executive secretary with M & C Tapes Co.
The boys, all good students, went through Our Lady of Consolation School and Father Judge High School. The family was active in the parish; Daniel ran the parish carnival and was president of the Holy Name Society, while Josephine was active with the Ladies of Charity.
Because it’s a close family the toughest thing when Joseph went to St. Charles was the limited amount of visitation allowed back in 1967. “We were happy but sad we couldn’t see him every day,” she said.
When he became a priest it was a banner day for the whole family.
“We were very happy. My mother-in-law Assunta (Suzie) lived to see it,” Josephine said.
“She was the great religious influence in the family,” Daniel said.
The Cistones are proud of all three of their sons; Daniel and Anthony have done well in their professions too. They are the proud grandparents of Andrew, Daniel and Joann, and great -grandparents of four little girls.
For the past quarter century they have been members of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Southampton, where they have an apartment on their son Daniel’s property.
Nevertheless, they keep close to their Tacony roots as members of Our Lady of Consolation Senior Citizens.
Whenever possible they attend Mass celebrated by their son, especially during Holy Week when they go wherever he is celebrating. They never dreamed he would someday be a Bishop.
“I always hoped he would become a pastor,” his mother said.
Now he has, a pastor of a diocese rather than a parish. His mom and dad will be out in Saginaw for the July 28 installation of their son. One suspects they’ll be frequent visitors.