Christ the King Church Chicago

Shrine of Christ the King, Chicago, Illinois, Združene države Amerike

Website of the Sanctuary

+1 773 363 7409

Christ the King Church

Since 2004, when the congregation of the Institute of Christ the King took over the historic church, the community and neighborhood has witnessed a great transformation.

The Infant King devotion, introduced by the congregation, has attracted adherents from all over the country. “Hundreds of prayer requests come in weekly from the local area and across the country and it has been a great source of joy in watching this devotion grow,” said the Rev. Canon Talarico.

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Devastating fire in 2015

After suffering a devastating fire on October 7th, 2015, this landmark is in need of your help now more than ever. The Shrine has risen from the ashes before, but your generous assistance will be needed to bring this glorious restoration to its realization.

See also the Almada and their Shrine of Christ the King.

History of the Shrine of Christ the King

The former St. Clara/St. Gelasius church on the south side of Chicago was designed and built by the masterful Henry J. Schlacks in 1923.

Schlacks applied classical models from Italy, most particularly Rome, to the many magnificent churches he designed in Chicago during the early twentieth century.

Among these historical edifices that he built, the church of St. Clara/St. Gelasius stands out as his life’s masterpiece, with its application of concepts from the many triumphal arches of antiquity, including the three arched doorways, and the four imposing statues placed above the pediment.

This historic landmark of Chicago was originally named St. Clara Parish and directed for many decades by the Carmelite Fathers. This history has been recorded in the adjacent street named “Carmelite Way.”

Until the late 1950’s, the Church was also the National Shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux.

Though the church was thriving, a significant change in the neighborhood began to diminish the parish membership considerably, which naturally created difficulties in maintaining the building.

History of the Shrine of Christ the King

The former St. Clara/St. Gelasius church on the south side of Chicago was designed and built by the masterful Henry J. Schlacks in 1923. Schlacks applied classical models from Italy, most particularly Rome, to the many magnificent churches he designed in Chicago during the early twentieth century. Among these historical edifices that he built, the church of St. Clara/St. Gelasius stands out as his life’s masterpiece, with its application of concepts from the many triumphal arches of antiquity, including the three arched doorways, and the four imposing statues placed above the pediment.

This historic landmark of Chicago was originally named St. Clara Parish and directed for many decades by the Carmelite Fathers. This history has been recorded in the adjacent street named “Carmelite Way.”
Until the late 1950’s, the Church was also the National Shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux. Though the church was thriving, a significant change in the neighborhood began to diminish the parish membership considerably, which naturally created difficulties in maintaining the building.

After a devastating fire in the late 1970’s, the interior of the church was never brought back to the splendor that its outside promises. Gorgeous statuary and delicate woodworking was lost. However, even in this moment of interior and exterior decay, the imposing structure was still one of the noblest churches in Chicago.

Finally, at the turn of the millennium, the church was to be demolished. But at the last moment, the destiny of the majestic edifice changed. Francis Cardinal George, who had always regretted closing the church, was overjoyed at the possibility of preserving this historic gem. The Cardinal gave the church to the Institute of Christ the King, a priestly order with a history of successful and beautiful church restorations (see the restoration of St. Mary’s in Wausau, Wisconsin). In addition, the city of Chicago formally gave this church the prestigious historic landmark status. With the blessing of the Archdiocese and many enthusiastic supporters, the Institute began the arduous work of restoration.

A New Beginning
Since 2004, when the congregation of the Institute of Christ the King took over the historic church, the community and neighborhood has witnessed a great transformation. The Infant King devotion, introduced by the congregation, has attracted adherents from all over the country. “Hundreds of prayer requests come in weekly from the local area and across the country and it has been a great source of joy in watching this devotion grow,” said the Rev. Canon Talarico. As the interior and the exterior of the church were slowly renovated, the Shrine congregation, composed of members and families from the local community, some from as far away as Indiana, grew steadily.

Posted in North America and United States