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Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

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Title: Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest  
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Subject: St. Francis de Sales Church (St. Louis), Traditionalist Catholic, Francis de Sales, Church of St. Walburge, Preston, Tridentine Mass
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Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Institutum Christi Regis Summi Sacerdotis
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
Abbreviation ICRSS
Motto Veritatem facientes in caritate ("Live the truth in charity")
Formation 1990
Type Catholic
Headquarters International Seminary, Gricigliano, Italy
Key people
Gilles Wach — Founder, Prior General
Philippe Mora - Co-founder, Rector of the Seminary
R. Michael Schmitz - Vicar General [1]

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (Latin: Institutum Christi Regis Summi Sacerdotis) is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right with the stated goal of honoring God and the sanctification of priests in the service of the Catholic Church and souls. An integral part of the institute’s charism is the use of the traditional Latin liturgy of 1962 for Mass and the other sacraments.[2] It has undertaken the restoration of a number of historic church buildings.

The institute's rule of life is based generally on that of the secular canons. The institute has its own choir dress, adopted in 2006, which was given to members by the (Cardinal) Archbishop of Florence. Its stated mission is the defense and propagation of the reign of Christ in all areas of human life, both private and social.


  • Early years 1
  • Apostolates 2
  • Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus 3
  • Society of the Sacred Heart 4
  • Superiors 5
  • Choir dress 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early years

Gilles Wach, Prior General

The institute was founded in 1990 by Gilles Wach and Philippe Mora in Gabon, Africa, where the institute still has missions,[2] notably in the capital Libreville. Its canonical status was of diocesan right until October 7, 2008. On that date it was granted the status of pontifical right by decree, titled "Saeculorum Rex", of the Pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei, on the occasion of the visit of Camille Perl, vice-president of the commission. Deacons and priests are incardinated into the institute, whose prior general has the right to call to orders. The institute is currently based in Gricigliano, Italy, where the international seminary is located.[3]

Wach currently serves as prior general and Mora as rector of the seminary. Both received their priestly formation under the late Cardinal Siri of Genoa. Today, the institute has more than eighty seminarians in formation and numbers over seventy priests.

The charism of the institute is based on the example of its three patron saints:

  • Saint Francis de Sales,[2] who emphasized teaching the Catholic faith with patience and charity, and encouraging all Catholics to seek a life of holiness through the ordinary means of the church, such as devout attendance at Mass and frequent confession.
  • Saint Benedict, with his love for the solemn celebration of the liturgy, his emphasis on work and prayer, his "Benedictine hospitality", and his role in laying the groundwork for an integral Christian civilization in medieval Europe.
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas, with his emphasis on the harmony between faith and reason.

The institute also honors as its primary patroness the Virgin Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. St. Teresa of the Child Jesus is the patroness of its African missions.


In the United States, the institute is located in Illinois, Wisconsin, Saint Louis, Missouri, New Jersey, California, and Arizona, with its national headquarters in Chicago. Its oldest United States apostolate is St. Mary Oratory in Rockford, Illinois. In Kansas City, Missouri, in 2005, Bishop Robert Finn established an oratory (a public church where the Mass and other rites may be administered) for the institute at an historic church otherwise in danger of being closed. One of its most recent foundations was in Santa Clara, California, at Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The superior for the United States is R. Michael Schmitz, who is also vicar general of the institute.

The Crescent showing Jesuits Church, Limerick

The institute is active in the dioceses of Liverpool, Lancaster, Shrewsbury and East Anglia in Great Britain; in 2011 the Bishop of Shrewsbury invited the institute to re-open the church of Saints Peter, Paul and Philomena in New Brighton. Since St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2006, the institute has had a presence in the Diocese of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland. Since May 2010, the institute in Ireland has expanded into the diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora. In addition to its oratories in the United States and missions in Africa, the institute also has apostolates in France, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The institute is especially active in the domain of education, running schools in France (Montpellier, Lille and Versailles), Belgium (Brussels International Catholic School), and Africa.

During its yearly ordinations week in Italy, the institute has had visits by the Cardinals Raymond Leo Burke, Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Darío Castrillón Hoyos, Giuseppe Siri and Archbishop Camille Perl. When he was Archbishop of St. Louis, Burke ordained two American priests in the United States for the first time at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, Missouri on the feast day of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 15, 2007.

Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus

The Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest are a women's community (founded in 2004) associated with the institute. They are also based in Gricigliano. The sisters are non-cloistered contemplatives, and their way of life is based on the Benedictine tradition. The community celebrates Mass and the Divine Office using the traditional Roman Rite. When the number of sisters has increased sufficiently, the community plans to locate convents near the institute's churches, where the sisters will perform apostolic work such as teaching. As of July 2007, the sisters numbered nearly twenty.

Mass and the Divine Office celebrated in the classical Roman form, form the rhythm of each day. Needlework and embroidery projects form an important part of their daily "Ora et Labora" ("pray and work").

Society of the Sacred Heart

The Society of the Sacred Heart is a lay society associated with the Institute of Christ the King. The lay members of the society pledge to live according to a modified Benedictine rule, within their vocation. Through membership in the society, lay faithful participate in the spiritual and social missions of the institute through prayer, devotions, spiritual direction, and study of the spiritual writings of St. Francis de Sales.


Gilles Wach is the founder and prior general.

Philippe Mora is the co-founder and rector of the international St. Philip Neri seminary in Gricigliano.

R. Michael Schmitz is the vicar general of the institute.

Choir dress

Canons, superiors and the prior general

Priests, superiors, and the prior general

See also


  1. ^ The 2013 Annuario Pontificio lists his diocese of incardination as Cologne, Germany.
  2. ^ a b c "Who we are", Institute of Christ the King
  3. ^ "The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at the Shrine Church of St Walburge's, Preston", The Diocese of Lancaster - England

External links

  • Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
  • Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus
  • Society of the Sacred Heart
International links
  • Italian
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Irish
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