The Universal King November 24, 2023

Anyone who is an even intermittent reader of my social media posts knows that I am quite enamored with the British Royal Family. My interest started at age nine, when Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. I watched the wedding “on the telly,” diligently scrapbooked magazine photos and articles, saved my allowance for commemorative books, and had an LP record of their full wedding ceremony (while my peers chose records by Michael Jackson or Rick Springfield). My fascination with the pomp and tradition of royalty continues, with friends visiting the United Kingdom kindly bringing me souvenirs such as ornaments from Buckingham Palace, royal cookbooks and cookie cutters, hand knit corgi dogs, and even a booklet of William and Kate paper dolls.

In his Art that Surrounds Us video discussing our stained glass window of Christ the King in the sacristy, Dr. Johan van Parys, our Managing Director of Ministries and Director of Liturgy and Sacred Art, shares that Pope Pius XI in 1925, established this weekend’s Feast of Christ the King “as an antidote to strong senses of nationalism and secularism in the European countries.” As an alternative to local leaders and royalty from various countries, Pope Pius XI rightly offered Christ “as the true king, the universal king, the king of everybody throughout the world.”

Johan continues, “from early Christianity in Scripture there was mention of Christ the King. Think, for instance, of the first letter to Timothy in the famous words that we know from Handel’s Messiah, ‘King of kings, Lord of lords.’ Jesus is quite clear when He’s questioned by Pilate, He says ‘my kingdom is not of this world, if it were of this world, then surely my father would have sent armies to free me.’” Instead, Jesus voluntarily gives Himself over. We follow Jesus Christ as our King because “He gave His life for our salvation, because He dined with sinners, because He forgave sins, because He healed those who were suffering, because He helped the poor. He really embodied God’s mercy for all of us and He calls us to do the same.”

If you have a chance while you are at The Basilica, please visit the beautiful window dedicated to Christ the King in our sacristy on the south wall. It was created in 1928, only three years after the establishment of the Feast, by Gaytee Studios, who created all of our stained glass windows. Johan describes the window in detail, with Jesus, “sitting on a royal throne, dressed in a blue robe and a red cape. The blue color is a reference to the heavenly realms, indicating that Jesus Christ is God. The red cape is a reference to the earthly realm, referencing His passion, even unto His death. Two angels flank Him, adoring Him. They have angel wings with beautiful colors in the feathers. Jesus is holding three attributes: He is crowned with a royal crown, and, in His right hand, He is holding a scepter and, in His left hand, He is holding an orb, which is crowned with a cross.”

I invite you to listen to Johan’s full Art that Surrounds Us video on our Christ the King window, along with 27 additional videos about Sacred Art at The Basilica, at

Christ King Window Sacristy

Melissa Streit
Director of Engagement