ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Thousands of Stateline Catholics prepare for one the biggest events in nearly two decades.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- For the first time in nearly two decades the Stateline honors its ninth bishop. David Malloy was just ordained in front of thousands of Catholics.
After a nearly five hour service filled with prayer, music, and symbolism, Bishop David Malloy will now lead more than 456-thousand Catholics in 11 Stateline counties.
Malloy succeeds Bishop Thomas Dorran, who at the age of 76 is required to step down. Dorran has held the honor since 1994 and says he's ready to relieve his duties after 18 years. Malloy will focus on three missions: sanctify, teach, and govern through the church.
Bishop Thomas Doran said, "For me, it's liberation. I'm free of the responsibility that I've had for 18 years and I'm glad to be free of it. I'm getting old, and it's just time."
Pope Benedict the 16th chose Malloy as bishop. Malloy's mother says she's honored to watch her son lead hundreds of thousands of Catholics and says this is his calling.
Here's a look at the history behind Rockford's Diocese. It was established in 1908 by Pope Pius the Tenth. It serves the 11 northern most counties of Illinois inlcuding Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago and Boone
Nearly half a million Catholics live in the Stateline area.