In just one week’s time, the first two of ten massive windows have been fully restored in the historic landmark church at the corner of 64th and Woodlawn in the south side of Chicago.
This majestic masterpiece of sacred architecture is being restored and rebuilt to be the Institute’s United States Provincial Shrine of Christ the King and the mother church of our young order in this continent. Thanks to you, this important step in this monumental undertaking has been made financially possible, and we pray to continue without interruption that we may bring what God has begun by His grace to completion for His glory. Thank you all, and thanks be to God!
If there is one thing that we all can learn this Easter from the Prince of Peace, it is that peace is not a passive, but an active reality. Our blessed Lord did not say, “Blessed are the peaceful”, but rather, “Blessed are the peace makers”. Peace, therefore, is not something that is given; it is something that is achieved. It is something that we achieve together.
Thanks be to God and to you, our friends, we have been abundantly blessed with the means necessary to drive forward with our plans to build the National Shrine of Christ the King, making to rise from the grave this beautiful and historic landmark church that she may once more be to souls both near and far a place of prayer, a place of beauty, a place of peace.
This past week, as our blessed Lord descended to the depths of hell to ransom the souls who awaited His peace, we descended to the depths of our beloved church to prepare its basement for the construction of the new restroom facilities and mechanical rooms. The rubble was removed, the walls scraped, the structural masonry fortified and all load-bearing walls rebuilt to ensure the solid foundation upon which we will now continue to build the National Shrine of Christ the King.
Now with our Blessed Lord, the Light of the world, we will rise from the depths to begin to manifest to the nation the light of the church and the hope that her resurrection brings.
This week, as construction continues on the basement, we will begin the arduous and important task of restoring the church’s historic exterior windows. Workers will remove all rust from the original steel frames, make all necessary repairs and then prime and paint the metal to ensure its longevity and beauty. Then, they will replace all the panes with clear, 1/4″ laminated glass, duly protecting the future interior stained glass and allowing once more the beauty of pure light to illuminate the church’s interior.
This monumental step did not come without the great sacrifices made by you, our friends and supporters, during these most recent Lenten months of prayer, fasting, and alms giving. The basement construction and window restoration alone required a nearly $200,000 investment on your part.
Like all good investments, there must be a return for us to continue. Made for the future, we must see promise in the present, or we shall not continue in faith. Your investment is for eternity, and I wish to thank you now and forever for your sacrifices. As the windows of the National Shrine of Christ the King are brought back to life, I wish to thank you for your generous and devoted help by offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for you and your intentions throughout this blessed week of Easter, the Feast of Peace.
We will rebuild the Church together, but it will be through our sacrifices. May our risen Lord bless you for yours now and forever. God love you.
After First Vespers of Laetare Sunday on March 30, 2019, over two hundred people filled the banquet hall as friends of the Institute from five States, joined the canons and oblates stationed at the Institute’s US Provincial Headquarters for the 2019 Benefit Gala to help build our National Shrine of Christ the King.
The evening began with the joyful reunion of many close friends, including many members of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Having greeted those present, our Provincial Superior, Canon Matthew Talarico, led us all in the Angelus, blessed our meal, and reminded us all of our united love for the Holy Infant King and that this night was for Him. Motivated by the truth of his words and by the beauty of the concept artwork depicting the future church for the Holy Infant King, those present were explained the next steps in the building process and presented with the evening’s challenging goal: restoring 10 massive windows.
Entertained by the colorful personalities of the canons and faithful, everyone in the room joined together to build the church’s windows by playing a dynamic game show cleverly dubbed “All Pane, All Gain”, where those present teamed up with each other to match the donations of our friends and benefactors throughout the United States.
Encouraged by these pledges and contributions made from members of the Institute family across the nation, those present responded with unprecedented generosity to help raise a cumulative total of over $122,000, $100,000 of which was then matched by an anonymous benefactor and friend of the Institute. This tremendous charity on the part of the entire Institute family achieved not only this year’s project goal, but also will help launch the following goals of insulation, fire protection, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as the building out of the interior column structures.
Restoration of the ten window frames will begin in earnest as soon as the temperature is consistently above fifty degrees Fahrenheit. The original steel frames will be cleaned, the rust will be grinded off, the frames repaired where needed and then primed and painted with a rust inhibiting paint. The panes will then be replaced with 1/4″ laminated protective glass, which will not only seal up the interior from the elements, but will also serve to protect the church’s future stained glass.
While the funds for the completion of the window restoration have been fully raised, there are, however, individual windows that are still able to be sponsored or memorialized. If you would like to make a donation to sponsor or memorialize a window within our National Shrine of Christ the King in honor of your family or a special loved-one, please contact our Project Manager, Canon Matthew Weaver for more information.
The evening concluded by praying the Memorare together and the final blessing from Canon Talarico, but not before the premier of a powerful video entitled “Christ is Our King”. This short film calls us to unite as a family in our desire to honor Christ as our King, and to make our love for Jesus Christ incarnate (something to touch), like He has done for us. We trust Him to provide for us everything we will ever need, because we have honored Him with our trust and our love. We give to Him what He has given first to us, knowing He will give us back a hundred-fold and the joy of eternal life.
With the endorsement and blessing of the Institute’s Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach, as well as that of the Vicar General, Monsignor Schmitz, we wish to build a monument to the universal kingship of Christ over all of creation, here in the United States. This is what the Institute of Christ the King is all about – making visible the reign of Christ in our world. This is why we desire to build our National Shrine of Christ the King, because Christ Reigns Here.
We would like to thank everyone for your generous support as well as your continued prayers for this monumental project, and we thank you for helping to make this year’s benefit gala an unprecedented success, a lot of fun, and a victory for Christ our Holy Infant King. Deo gratias!
During a brief visit to the United States, Monsignor Schmitz, Vicar General of the Institute, met with the Provincial Superior, Canon Talarico, for the unveiling of our plans for the Institute’s National Shrine of Christ the King. The two superiors sat down with (left to right) the design architect, William Heyer, the architect of record, Cyrus Rivetna, and the general contractor, Jim Raffin, for the presentation. Monsignor Schmitz was positively astounded by the church’s beautiful design and is most enthusiastic about its effective use of space to create both an aesthetically magnificent and liturgically functional home for our Divine Infant King.
William Heyer will now prepare the design drawings to be handed over to the architect of record, who will then convert them into the building plans that the general contractor will then use to make this vision of heavenly beauty a reality of earth and stone. During the monthly Novena to the Holy Infant King, we contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation — the mystery of our redemption; the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. He wishes to dwell among us still, but where will He reign?
Our divine Lord Jesus wishes not only to reign in our hearts, but also in our society. We show Him (and others) we love Him by making the shrines of our hearts visible in the world. We do this by what we “build” in the world each day. We help build His kingdom with our corporal and spiritual works of mercy. However, our Divine Jesus wishes for His kingdom to be public, that is for all people, which means that He asks us also to build Him public monuments of His Kingship for all to see and from which all may be blessed.
As we prepare the final drawings for the Institute’s National Shrine of Christ the King before beginning construction in the spring, we turn in faith to our Blessed Mother, Mary Immaculate. In union with all of our American apostolates as well as countless friends of the Institute throughout the United States, we pray the Memorare each day that through her most powerful intercession, we may receive all that we need to build our National Shrine for her Divine Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, King — yesterday, today, forever. Join us as we pray:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee. O Virgin of virgins, my Mother, to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
On the Feast of St. Francis de Sales, Canon Talarico prays this saint’s favorite prayer, the Memorare, in the presence of the Holy Infant King for the special intention of the entire US Province: building of the Institute’s National Shrine.
Please join him in this special intention by praying the Memorare each day, and let us build a National Shrine to Christ our King.
Planned Side Altars for the Institute’s Provincial Shrine of Christ the King
We desire to honor the Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ from the moment of His virginal conception until His triumphal Ascension into heaven where He lives and reigns as our benevolent and loving King eternally. All of these mysteries in the life of our Divine Lord center around the reality of His Incarnation — the mystery of the Word made flesh for our redemption. Jesus Christ, King — yesterday, today and forever — from the creche to the cross, Emmanuel is King. The center piece of this monument therefore is the well known and beloved Holy Infant King, a 17th century wooden statue of the Infant Jesus in royal robes of the time and crowned by the late Francis Cardinal George during the Octave of Christmas 2007.
Because of this central theme, the theme of the Incarnation, the side altars and shrines, therefore, will all focus on this central mystery and highlight its various aspects, episodes, virtues, manifestations, defenders and proponents.
1. The Mystery of the Annunciation: The virginal conception of our Divine King and the day of His ordination as a Priest, Pontifex, the bridge between God and man.
2. The Mystery of the Nativity: The virginal birth of our Lord and God and the adoration of the angels and the simple shepherds alike.
3. The Mystery of the Epiphany: The adoration of the wise men, the Magi, who followed a star by faith and brought to the Christ Child gifts of gold for His kingship, frankincense for His divinity, and myrrh for His true humanity.
4. The Most Blessed Virgin, Mary Immaculate, Mother of God, Mother of the Word Incarnate, Mother of the Church, Our Blessed Mother.
5. Saint Joseph, most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, Guardian of the Holy Family and protector of the Universal Church.
6. St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of Divine Love and defender of the redemptive Incarnation of our Lord for all of humanity.
7. St. Thomas Aquinas, defender of the Faith and Universal Doctor of the Church, the Mystical Body of our Incarnate God.
8. St. Benedict, “Father of Christian Civilization” and of the Sacred Liturgy, the living expressions of the reality of the Incarnation and the Love of God in our daily lives.
9. St. Therese of the Child Jesus – need I say more on behalf of this most beloved saint.
10. The Crucifixion, remembering always that our Lord’s true throne is His most holy Cross, which He offers to us each day that we might reign with Him forever in heaven.
(Information courtesy of Canon Matthew Weaver, Project Manager)
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
Canon Matthew Weaver, newly ordained American priest and Project Manager for the Institute’s National Shrine of Christ the King, offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass during the Octave of Christmas for all of the friends and benefactors of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. May the Holy Infant King bless you abundantly this Christmas and throughout the New Year of His grace, 2019. God love you!