Denver Newsroom, November 20, 2021 / 13:47 pm
The solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, celebrated this year on November 21, is also called Feast of Christ the King, Sunday of Christ the King or Sunday of the Reign of Christ.
While the concept of Jesus Christ as king is as old as the Gospels, the holiday is quite recent in the Roman Catholic calendar.
The holiday was introduced into the Western liturgical calendar in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, via the encyclical “Quas Primas. “ Pope Pius XI was about to close the Jubilee Year of 1925 against the backdrop of the growing secular nationalism that followed the fall of European kingdoms after World War I, and decided to establish the solemnity to appoint a king ” whose kingdom will be endless. “
Surprisingly, the first parish in the world to be consecrated in honor of Our Lord Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI not in Europe, but in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1926.
“The 225 faithful who attended Our Lord Christ the King the first mass of December 5, 1926 embodied the essence of what it means to be “church”. Without bricks or mortar to appropriate, this gathering of believers placed their faith in Providence and celebrated the first liturgies in a humble environment ”, we read in a Account posted on the parish website. “There was no electricity for the first Eucharist, so the room was lit by headlights emitted by parked cars. The pastor, Father Edward J. Quinn, a former WWI chaplain, used his army mass kit.
The current church, built in the 1950s, was designed by famous church architect Edward J. Schulte in what is known as a “brutalist” style.
Despite the fact that the first parish ever to be dedicated to Christ the King was in the United States, some American clergymen initially struggled to explain the new solemnity in the context of American Protestant patriotism, which disapproved of kings and kingdoms as opposed to democracy as the most perfect form of government.
A key passage from Quas Primas provided Catholic preachers with a useful synopsis. “This kingdom (of Christ) is spiritual and concerns spiritual things… The Gospels present this kingdom as a kingdom into which men prepare to enter by penance, and can only really enter by faith and baptism, which, although being an external rite, signifies and produces an internal regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than that of Satan and the power of darkness. She demands from her subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of meekness. They must hunger and thirst for righteousness, and more than that, they must renounce themselves and carry the cross.
Pope Pius XI established the feast to be celebrated on the last Sunday of October, so that it always takes place before the celebration of the solemnity of All Saints. But in the new liturgical calendar of 1970, his observance of the Roman rite was moved to the last Sunday in ordinary time. Therefore, the earliest date this can happen is November 20 and the latest is November 26.