Almost 6,000 gather in sports arena transformed for bishop's ordination
Published: May 16, 2012
ROCKFORD, Ill. (CNS) -- It was with some trepidation that the planning committee for the ninth bishop of Rockford's ordination and installation Mass chose a downtown sports arena for the ceremony. However, once it was announced March 20 that Msgr. David J. Malloy, from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, would succeed retiring Bishop Thomas G. Doran, the committee felt there was no other choice. The Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford has a capacity of 800. Since the bishop-designate was from a neighboring diocese and extremely well known in the U.S. church, they needed a location big enough to accommodate friends, family, diocesan priests and personnel, as well as Catholics who wanted to get a first glimpse of their new shepherd. By the time the crowd of almost 6,000 filled the BMO Harris Bank Center for the ceremony May 14, the arena had been transformed with a cathedral-like atmosphere, bathed in stained glass. A huge stage had been built to elevate a simple altar displaying the diocesan seal. The backdrop was adorned with projected images of the cathedral's circular stained-glass rose window and its windows featuring King David and St. Matthias -- celebrating Bishop Malloy's name and the feast day on which he was ordained. The projections framed a crucifix borrowed from Sacred Heart Church in Sterling. High above the altar a simple cloth became a baldacchino, or canopy, bathed in soft lights of red, the liturgical color of the day. Special vinyl covers, made to match the design of the rose window, were placed over all the signs normally advertising everything from soft drinks to radio stations at a venue known to most in northern Illinois as the home of the Rockford IceHogs Hockey Team. Among the busloads of people arriving at 10 a.m. to be seated in time for the 1:30 p.m. procession were two buses were filled with parishioners from Bishop Malloy's parish, St. Francis de Sales in Lake Geneva, Wis., where he served as pastor for the last nine months. There were dignitaries from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, where Bishop Malloy served for 10 years, five as associate general secretary and then as general secretary from 2006 to 2011.
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