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Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
King of the Universe
34th or last Sunday of Ordinary Time
Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
If the weather cooperates, the night sky is beautiful this time of year. Go outside and do some star-gazing. Talk with children about how Jesus Christ is King of the entire universe, and we are celebrating this in a special way on the feast of Christ the King. When you return inside, have dessert – perhaps crown shaped cookies, cake, or cake pops!
Each year on the last Sunday of the current Liturgical Year (the Sunday prior to the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new Liturgical Year), we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In the Church’s ranking of feast days, a “solemnity” is the highest rank of feasts.
The feast of Christ the King is a relatively new feast on our calendar. It was inserted into the calendar by Pope Pius XI in 1925. 1925 was a Jubilee Year in the Catholic Church, celebrating the 1600th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea. The Council of Nicaea defined the consubstantiality of the Father and the Son, and also added the words “of whose kingdom there shall be no end” to the Creed. In the encyclical of Pope Pius XI, “Quas Primas”, given on December 11, 1925, Pope Pius man-
dated the “insertion into the Sacred Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (see paragraph 6 of “Quas Primas”).
When Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925, it was celebrated on the last Sunday in October, the Sunday immediately preceding the celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1. With the revision of the Calendar in 1969, the feast of Christ the King was transferred to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, highlighting the eschatological significance of this feast. Jesus Christ is the goal and culmination of both our Church Year and our pilgrimage on this earth. (See the Commentary on the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, Chapter 1, III 2.)
The liturgy for the Solemnity of Christ the King is beautiful. Incorporate hymns to Christ the King into your home – your domestic church – on this day, as well. “Crown Him with Many Crowns” is one hymn. You can download the words and music for this hymn here. Spend some time in prayer meditating on the words of this hymn. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has a reflection/bulletin insert for the 2018 Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Take the time to read and reflect upon it.
You will also enjoy listening to the hymn, "To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King,” on this feast. In the video below, the St. Mary Catholic Parish Choir, Littleton, Colorado, sings "To Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King" (ICH GLAUB AN GOTT) at their Christ the King Mass on November 25, 2012. Arr. James Biery. Marcia Marchesi, conductor.
Christ King of Kings
Iconographer: A. I. Kazancev, 1690
Christ "King of Kings"
Iconographer: Nemch of Aleppo, 1698
Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, Lebanon
Iconographer: Dimiter Zograph
Mid 19th century
National History Museum