Christ the King Catholic Church

4000 Ave Maria Drive adjoining the campus of
the Domino Farms Complex, Ann Arbor

The second Vatican Council was held in Rome from 1962 to 1965.  Some years after Vatican II, a type of charismatic Christianity developed around the world.   I am not a good one to define or describe charismatic Christianity.  Those who associate themselves with this religious perspective accept most or all Christian traditions, but particularly emphasize the day to day workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Thus, they may anticipate the frequent occurrence of miracles, signs and other supernatural event in everyday life.  There are very many different stands to this charismatic movement, including some that may be closely linked to the Pentecostal movement.

For the most part, the modern Catholic Church in the United States involves a large bureaucracy with an extensive official hierarchy and many rules, regulations and guidelines.  I suspect that, beginning in the 1960s and maybe earlier, some Catholics sought a more vibrant and less bureaucratic religious life.  Sometimes groups formed and worshiped, often with the support of a priest oriented toward the charismatic movement and their religious needs.

In 1981, Catholics in Ann Arbor who were interested in Charismatic Renewal began meeting weekly for worship.  The group grew, and in 1986, they sought recognition from the bishop of their diocese, the Lansing diocese.   Bishop Popish responded to their request and established a Lay Association of the Faithful to be known as Christ the King Catholic Association. That is, the bishop recognized the group as an organized one, one that was charismatic in its profession of the Catholic faith.  In 1991, that group sought to establish a parish within the diocese.

Most Catholic parishes are administrative units with a specific geographic catchment area.  All Catholics living in that area are expected to join that parish, support the local church and attend Masses at their parish church.  But the Charismatic group in Ann Arbor wished to have a parish that would be open to Charismatic Catholics regardless of where they lived.  This was accomplished when Lansing Bishop Mengelin established Christ the King as a kind of personal parish.  That is, it does not have a geographic catchment but rather welcomes charismatic Catholics regardless of where they reside.

The Feast of the Pentecost is significant to charismatic people since, according to Christian tradition, that is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles as symbolized in tongues of fire providing apostles with the inspiration to spread the Gospel. On the feast of Pentecost 2001, Christ the King parish opened the extremely attractive church they you see pictured here.  Their website claims a membership of 2,800 faithful.  By today’s standards, that is a large Catholic parish.  Ann Arbor is fortunate to have many architecturally noteworthy houses of worship serving the faithful in many denominations.  This may be the most recently constructed such place.

This church is located on the expanse of property where Thomas Monaghan constructed the huge Frank Lloyd Wright style building that served, for years, as the headquarters for his pizza empire.  I do not know what role Mr. Monaghan had in establishing this parish but I have heard many reports that he was a key figure.  I believe that he established a small Catholic elementary school run by nuns who came from France.  This was Spiritus Sanctus Academy.  That educational institution closed and Christ the King parish obtained it for use as a parish center in 2005.

Date of opening: 2001
Architect: Unknown to me
Use in 2017:  Catholic Church
Website for church:
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites:  Ineligible
National Registry of Historic Places: Ineligible
Photograph:  Ren Farley; October, 2016
Description updated: January, 2017

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