Building Our National Shrine of Christ the King: a Conceptual Model

To the angels, our churches are the frontier between heaven and earth. Here, the angels worship God side by side with men, women and children, and the accord of our adoration unifies the chasm between time and eternity. In our churches, heaven and earth are one.

How evident this becomes when our earthly churches remind us of heaven, when the invisible mysteries of eternity are made visible for us to behold! In heaven, as on earth, Christ is King. How much more then must Christ our King be enthroned in our land.

This is the mission and charism of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest: to enthrone Jesus Christ as King in every aspect of human life. This begins in our churches; this must be most evident in our National Shrine.

We present to you this magnificent conceptual rendering for the Institute’s National Shrine of Christ the King.

Designed by architect William Heyer, the classical basilica style has been embellished with details inspired by some of the most beautiful Roman churches ever built by the hands of men. Among these include Santa Maria in Campitelli, San Andrea della Valle, and the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican.

The exquisite nobility of the high altar was inspired by the same majestic piece in the Institute’s beautiful Florentine church of Sts. Michael and Cajetan. This already impressive structure is coronated by a most dazzling “Gloria” conceived and designed by the artistic genius of Abbe Alexander Willweber, clerical oblate of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. This celestial “cloud of glory” is to be the throne of Christ the King and the focal point of our National Shrine.

Watch and enjoy this enchanting video accompanied by the heavenly melodies of Gaudeamus Omnes, sung by priests and seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King.

You will notice that as you enter, welcomed and protected by the harbored structure, your heart and mind soar with the classical Corinthian columns, rising ever upward until they seemingly blossom into the graceful arches of the vaulted ceilings. The columns speak in silence of the glorious simplicity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the unwavering strength of the Twelve Apostles, supporting the Church until the end of time. These strong yet graceful columns elegantly ground you as your gaze follows them from the church’s nave into the right aisle of the ambulatory. Here, your eyes look heavenward to notice the refuge granted by the canopy of arches, sheltering you like palm trees.

You will follow the aisle forward where your heart seems to bow for a moment before one the church’s many side altars, perhaps Our Blessed Mother’s. As always, she guides you toward her Son, into the splendor of the sanctuary. Here, you will see where we wish to enthrone our Lord Jesus Christ as King.

There in the center of the “Gloria”, you can imagine our beloved and iconic statue of the Holy Infant King, Jesus our Lord, holding the world firmly in His left hand, blessing it with His right and standing in a cloud of glory. This 17th century wooden statue, which miraculously survived the devastating fire of October 7, 2015, will reclaim His rightful place in the National Shrine of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

The Holy Infant King is there seated upon His throne amidst the resplendent sun rising in the east above the tabernacle where His Divine Heart awaits you in the Most Holy Eucharist. From His throne, you look outward once again to take in the full nobility of this holy place. The nave is vast yet intimate, and the church is grand yet welcoming.

Your tour ends with one, final and almost nostalgic glance back to the dream-like high altar, the center of your Christian life, the center of the Institute’s National Shrine of Christ the King.

Inspired by the love, piety and devotion of those who have gone before us and those who have handed down to us the treasure of our one, true Catholic Faith, the interior of the Institute’s National Shrine of Christ the King will reflect the majesty and beauty of heaven. For the love of our Divine King, the Headquarters church of the Institute in the United States will unite both time and place with eternity to serve and adore our Lord Jesus Christ now and forever. Men and angels alike will worship Him here, to receive His grace and to find His peace, because Christ reigns here.

Designed with the humility to know and accept the challenges of our times and the limitations of our means, the design architect, William Heyer, has drawn on the timeless elements of classical church architecture while utilizing the ingenuity of both skilled craftsmen and innovative materials to create an interior that is magnificent to behold, accommodating to use, and economic to build. Independently financed and managed by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, we rely on the generous donations of our friends and benefactors who support our mission, our work and our passion.

Built to last and built with future generations in mind, nevertheless, we wish to build our National Shrine of Christ the King for His eternal glory. We have everything we have by His grace, we must do everything for His glory.

To find out more information about the Institute’s National Shrine of Christ the King or to learn how you can help, please call our Project Manager, Rev. Canon Matthew Weaver, at 773.363.7409 ext. 2 or email him at canon.weaver@institute-christ-king.org.

This is a preliminary conceptual model for the church’s interior. The completed design will include many more features and furnishings including side altars, confessionals, stained glass windows, statuary and more.