November 2, 2021 // National

Celebrate the feast of Christ the King with novena

FORT WAYNE — On the last Sunday of each liturgical year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, or Christ the King.

Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 with his encyclical “Quas primas,” “In the first,” to respond to growing secularism and atheism. He recognized that attempting to “thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law” out of public life would result in continuing discord among people and nations. This solemnity reminds us that while governments come and go, Christ reigns as King forever.

During the early 20th century, in Mexico, Russia and some parts of Europe, militantly secularistic regimes threatened not just the Catholic Church and its faithful but civilization itself. Pope Pius XI’s encyclical gave Catholics hope and — while governments around them crumbled — the assurance that Christ the King shall reign forever. Jesus Christ, it says in “Quas primas,” “is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops encourages Catholics to learn more about this important feast day. 

A stained-glass window depicting “Christ the King and Lord of the Universe” is seen in the Cathedral of St. Peter in Wilmington, Del., May 27, 2021. (CNS photo/Chaz Muth)

The Lectionary readings this year depict Christ as the king who reigns in triumph, yet who also suffers. In the Gospel passage, John 18:37, although He is heading toward what appears to be defeat, Jesus announces His victory in His response to Pilate: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” The Word of God has entered the world to open the way for fallen humanity to live in accordance with the truth. This is his mission, and no earthly authority can prevent Christ from carrying it out. Even in the face of suffering, Christ’s reign is undefeated, because He and all who are conformed to Him testify to the truth.

Jesus tells Pilate that everyone who belongs to the truth listens to the voice of Jesus, the king. As Catholics, the USCCB has said, “we contribute to the building up of the common good in our society by bearing witness to the reign of Christ in public life. The Solemnity of Christ the King is a day for Catholics to rededicate themselves to the truth by listening to the voice of Christ and by obeying his word. It is only under the reign of Christ our sovereign king that we will experience true freedom and see renewal in our Church and in our country.” 

On Nov. 12-20, the nine days preceding the solemnity, the USCCB encourages Catholics to participate in a novena to Christ the King. Daily intentions and a concluding Prayer to Christ the King can be found at liberty/christ-king-2021-novena. This is an appropriate time to offer prayers to the Christ for the freedom of the Church.

Connect with the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty by Text FREEDOM to 84576 and Sign up for First Freedom News, the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty’s monthly newsletter.

Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

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