Christ the King Parish was founded September 1938. Originally, it was to be located at 78th and Holmes “south of Waldo.” The original boundaries ran a zig-zag course from 75th Street and Troost to Martin City on the south and from Cherry to State Line on 80th Street.
Fr. Thomas J. Connelly was the first pastor. He did a census of the proposed parish area and discovered 17 families. A storeroom northeast of 85th and Holmes was rented, and the congregation celebrated its first Mass together on the Feast of Christ the King, October 30, 1938.
Five weeks later they moved into a small tin barn at 808 W. 85th Street. It had been a nightclub called the “Silver Barn” and after the first Sunday mass, Fr. Connelly was visiting with a parish member outside the church. A gentleman drove up who had evidently been touring the county in search of “libation”. Upon seeing the people leaving he asked, “Where is everybody going? I was just going to buy the house a drink.” The following week a cross was erected on top of the church so that passersby would know the Silver Barn existed no more.
In 1941, a lot with a large house was purchased on the southwest corner of 85th and Wornall from T. Eugene Crawford. Construction on a new church in a mission style was begun. There were about 75 families.
On May 24, 1943, the church burned to the ground and took the rectory with it. The property was in the county at the time and there were no firefighting facilities. Parishioners immediately began to clear the ruins and by the following Sunday they were able to have Mass in the basement remains of the church. They built a new church identical to the former one, which was blessed December 19, 1943.
At the blessing ceremony Bishop Edwin O’Hara told the people the area was going to grow rapidly and encouraged them to plan for a school. In the fall of 1945, the basement of the church was divided into three classrooms and school opened with 46 children. By the fall of 1946, a new school was prepared for occupancy. It was made up of four classrooms and an office and cost $68,000. By 1950 there were 325 families.
In 1952, Msgr. Arthur Tighe came to Christ the King. He purchased additional property and on November 9, 1952, ground was broken for a new church. Christ the King was considered far ahead of its time when a free-standing altar was constructed. Pope Pius XII had given special permission for Bishop O’Hara to celebrate the first Mass facing the people on May 9, 1954. The boundaries for the parish were now from 80th to 110th Street and State Line to Troost.
In 1952, parishioners, Millie Oxler and her husband Mike, from Santa Fe Hills, assisted in the groundbreaking for the new church to be built on the present location.
In 1952, Father Tighe and Monsignor Marling broke ground for the new church at today’s location.
When Msgr. Vincent Kearney came in 1958 there were 2029 Catholic children in the parish (925 were enrolled in the school) and 2457 adult Catholics. Additions were made to the school to accommodate the growing student population.
In July 1960, the rectory was built and in March 1965, the gymnasium and cafeteria were added to the school. The church was air conditioned in the late summer of 1966, a goal which the Holy Name Society had been working toward since the spring of 1960.
In 1978, when Msgr. Kearney was assigned to another parish, about 150 persons staged a prayer rally outside the chancery, hoping to keep Monsignor as pastor. Their request was denied and in 1979 Bishop George K. Fitzsimmons was assigned pastor of the parish. On March 24, 1981, Christ the King parishioners demonstrated outside the church protesting the movement of the tabernacle from the main altar to the side altar. Despite attempts to block the move, the tabernacle was relocated and remains today on the side altar.
When Fr. William Bauman came to Christ the King in 1984 there were 2,280 registered parishioners in the parish and there were 385 students in the school. In 1985 half of the convent was renovated into an apartment while the other half became the LIFE Center (Lay Involvement, Faith Enrichment) with 7 offices and an Assembly Room for gatherings and meetings of up to 35 people.
In 1991 St. Augustine Parish closed, adding 100 parishioners to the Christ the King family. In October, wheelchair ramps and an elevator were installed, and our restrooms were upgraded in the Church Hall. That same year the Preschool was remodeled.
Fr. Mancuso joined Christ the King in 1992 but was only at Christ the King for one year.
Fr. John Weiss came in 1993. There were several much-needed renovations in the school including new gym restrooms, the addition of a computer lab in the basement and the remodeling of the cafeteria to accommodate a hot lunch program. With an increasing number of working parents, the convent was turned into an Infant/Toddler Center in 1996.
In 1997 a Pastoral Council was initiated. The council members work with the Pastor, the staff and the parishioners to address areas of interest and need within the parish. Small faith groups participating in prayer and Bible study were formed.
In the fall of 2003, we began major renovations to the church. A beautiful gathering area was added, which is now referred to as the Narthex. The altar was brought forward and elevated, with an extraordinary skylight above. All the pews were replaced, and a permanent baptismal font was added in the Wornall vestibule. The Parish offices were relocated to the Rectory building. A rededication of the church took place in June 2004.
Fr. David Holloway became Pastor in July 2004.
After a successful campaign, “Cool The Kids,” we began the installation of A/C and upgrading the electrical service for the school in the summer of 2005.
In 2007, with an increased interest in Catholic education, a study began on all the schools in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese. The Southwest Pod formed a Task Force in 2009 to develop a strategic plan for sustainability, health, and growth. In conjunction with the Task Force, Fr. David Holloway contracted with an outside marketing firm to create a marketing and development plan for Christ the King. The marketing plan will focus on increasing enrollment and visibility in south Kansas City.
Fr. Gregory Lockwood became Parochial Administrator in July 2011.