Help Us Restore the Shrine of Christ the King

To learn more about the project to restore the Shrine of Christ the King to its glory, visit historic-landmark.org.


Donate to the Shrine

Just south of the University of Chicago lies the national American headquarters of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Here, by gracious permission of His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, the Institute has established the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, canonically erected on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, June 23, 2006.

Shrine of Christ the King exterior The magnificent exterior

In late 2003, His Eminence entrusted St. Gelasius Church in the south-side neighborhood of Woodlawn to the care of the Institute of Christ the King. Formerly "St. Clara," this majestic 80-year-old edifice was built by friars of the Calced Carmelite Order who established there the first National Shrine of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. With the gradual decline of the neighborhood, the dwindling of the congregation, and vicissitudes such as a fire in 1976 that well-nigh destroyed the interior of the church, St. Gelasius was eventually shut and in peril of being demolished. However, following the success of the Institute of Christ the King in beautifully restoring St. Mary's Church in Wausau, Wisconsin — thanks to Divine Providence manifested through the generosity of donors — Cardinal George has entrusted to the Institute the task of re-opening St. Gelasius for public worship.

Shrine of Christ the King interior Bare ceilings and
uncovered cement floor

The neighborhood of Woodlawn, since the early 1990s, has been steadily on the road to a remarkable recovery from its interim history of gangs and dilapidation. The former St. Gelasius, nestled in these improving immediate surroundings, stands only one mile away from the influential University of Chicago, where gifted minds and often searching souls are trained and groomed to lead society as professors, business executives, lawyers and professionals. What most propitious ground upon which to erect a shrine dedicated to Christ the King Sovereign Priest, He Who not only gained redemption for each individual soul through His Sacrifice on Calvary, but also Who has a Divine prerogative of rule over human society in general. At this Shrine of Christ the King, his Sovereignty, Majesty, and Divine Mercy will be made manifest through the beauty of the Classical Latin Liturgy and the efficacy of the Sacraments, administered in the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite, the Classical Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. See the Shrine's mission statement.

 

Francis Cardinal George, Monsignor Schmitz, Abbe Alexander His Eminence Cardinal George with Msgr. Schmitz
and designer Abbé Alexander Wilweber

The church's interior will be remodeled according to early Baroque churches in Rome, matching the lines of its exterior. Thanks to a generous loan, most of the urgently needed exterior work has been completed — roof replacement, tuck pointing, exterior surface cleaning, and repair of the tower. The next phase is the installation of completely new mechanics, including electrical wiring, plumbing, bathrooms, HVAC (heating/ventilation/air-conditioning), etc. Plans have already been drawn, and $2,950,000 must be raised in order to accomplish this phase.

Because of the magnitude of the project, it is anticipated that the work of restoration of the shrine will take two to three years at an estimated cost of $7,350,000, all of which must be raised by the Institute of Christ the King. We count on your prayers and generous support so that this Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest may be completed and become a center from which the glory and beauty of the Traditional Latin Liturgy may reach countless souls not only in this great city, but in the greater sphere influenced by such a metropolitan center as Chicago.

Roadmap to Restoration
First Phase
Tower, roof, tuck pointing, window frames, foundations, etc.
$1,300,000 est.
Second Phase
Internal construction work, scaffolding, HVAC and electrical wiring, ceiling, floor, etc.
$2,950,000 est.
Third Phase
Painting, plaster repair, altars, artwork, etc.
$2,500,000 est.
Shrine of Christ the King restoration sketch Artistic rendition of the future interior

The Shrine of Christ the King is already in operation. Until recently, Mass and the Sacraments were offered in part of the rectory's basement, beautifully transformed into a chapel. Because of the growing number of faithful, in December, 2007, the church, even before its restoration, was temporarily fitted with provisional furnishings, drapery, rugs, donated pews, and temporary altars, along with rented heating, so that it could be used. On December 29 that year, His Eminence Francis Cardinal George came to our Shrine to solemnly crown the statue of the Infant King, destined for the High Altar. The ceremony was followed by a Solemn High Mass, the first in this church for many decades. The restoration of this magnificent church for permanent use is entirely dependent on the generous donation of the needed funds.

How You Can Help

Here are a few ways that you can contribute to the restoration of the Shrine and become a part of history.

  • Donate to this worthy project.
  • Request brochures about the restoration to read yourself and share with family and friends.
  • Spread the word, and notify your local Catholic publications.
  • Pray for those involved in erecting this Shrine to Christ the King.

Thank you for your generosity!

To learn more about the project to restore the Shrine of Christ the King to its glory, visit historic-landmark.org.