By the grace of God, in the midst of the confusion and heterodoxy of the 1970s, the founders of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest — Monsignor Gilles Wach, STD, and Father Phillipe Mora, STD — cultivated a deep love for the unbroken stream of Catholic tradition under the tutelage of Cardinal Giuseppe Siri and other orthodox Cardinals and clergymen.

Since then, they have sought to defend and pass on to the members of the Institute and Catholics throughout the world the majestic patrimony of Catholic tradition.

Trusting God’s Providence, Cooperating with His Grace

1979 - Monsignor Gilles Wach, STD and Father Philippe Mora, STD, future founders of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, are ordained priests by Pope Saint John Paul II.

1980s - Working for Cardinal Silvio Oddi in Rome and with a priestly association in France, then Father Wach is approached by more and more young men seeking a traditional Catholic formation to the priesthood. Several Roman Cardinals urge Wach to found a religious community. By 1988, the idea of the Institute for Christ the King Sovereign Priest is formed.

1990 - Bishop Obamba of Mouila in Gabon, Africa, who invited Fr. Wach’s young community to help with missionary work in his diocese, gives the Institute of Christ the King the necessary canonical erection. At the same time, he appoints Wach his Vicar General, officially bestowing to him the title Monsignor. The Institute continues mission work in Gabon to this day.

YEAR? - With the help of Augustinus Cardinal Mayer, OSB, a member of the Roman Curia, Monsignor Wach pinpoints an appropriate location for a seminary and motherhouse for his quickly growing Institute: an ancient chateau at Gricigliano in Tuscany, Italy, just outside of Florence. Then Archbishop of Florence, Silvio Cardinal Piovanelli, immediately gives the motherhouse and seminary canonical erection in his diocese. The Institute’s St. Phillip Neri Seminary is established.

1990s - More and more seminarians join the Institute for traditional Catholic formation to the priesthood. The Institute sees steady growth and increased apostolic work around the whole world. Apostolates are established in France, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, South America, and the United States.

1996 - The Institute is invited to establish its first apostolate in the United States by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, then Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

2000s – American bishops across the country begin inviting the Institute into their dioceses to introduce the faithful to classical Roman Liturgy and restore and repopulate historic churches slated for demolition.

2001 – The Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Sovereign Priest, the Institute’s community of religious sisters, is canonically established to aid the priests in their mission through prayer and apostolic work.

2004 – Chicago Archbishop Francis Cardinal George invites the Institute into the archdiocese to restore the congregation and the building of the slated-for-demolition St. Clara/St. Gelasius church on the city’s south side, the last remaining Catholic church in the area and a gem of America’s Catholic heritage.   
For the Institute in the United States, this abandoned treasure represented a profound opportunity: a foothold in a prominent, geographically central city in which to establish their American provincial headquarters and long-envisioned namesake national shrine. The church was renamed the “Shrine of Christ the King” and restoration began immediately.  

2007 – Pope Benedict XVI issues Summorum Pontificum his motu proprio formally permitting the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962. In his letter to bishops accompanying the announcement, Benedict emphasizes, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

2008 – The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is formally recognized and approved by Rome, being granted the status of a “society of pontifical rite” directly dependent on the Holy See.

2015 – As the second phase of the renovation begins on the future Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, an early morning fire rips through the church, utterly destroying the roof, the choir loft, the windows, and virtually all interior furnishings. Restoration resumes immediately.

2021 – The Institute of Christ the King celebrates its 25 th anniversary in the United States, serving 18 dioceses across the country and more than 50 worldwide.

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