History of Christ The King Catholic Community!
by Al Gibes
From the first mass in 1978 in a borrowed auditorium, to the liturgies scheduled for next weekend in our church building, a constant of Christ the King Catholic Community has been a focus on the people.
In a letter to the parish that was included in the 1980 dedication book for the Community Center, Fr Bill wrote:
“May this dedication be one not just of walls and roof, but a true spiritual renewal of persons and families. We have come a long way, but we all know that we have only just begun.”
A common sentiment expressed by both Christ the King parishioners and visitors is the friendliness, openness and warmth they feel at our liturgies and parish events. A Confirmation student summarized the idea wonderfully several years ago when he said he wasn’t part of Christ the King Catholic Community, but instead Christ the King was a part of him!
Our parish roots stretch back to October 1978 when members of both Our Lady of Las Vegas and St. Francis de Sales parishes were invited to start a new parish in Spring Valley. Two weeks later, 294 families had signed up and the first masses were held the weekend of November 3 and 4 in an auditorium of Southwest Gas and at Potocsky Gym . . . now Lied Memorial Boys and Girls Club.
Daily morning masses were held at Sunrise Gardens senior apartment complex and later at Napoli Restaurant, where a tradition of gathering afterward for coffee and fellowship continues today in the church gathering space. A Sunday evening mass was added to the schedule and celebrated at Napoli Restaurant as well.
The parish was originally named “Spring Valley Catholic Church.” After nominations and voting, parishioners chose the name Christ the King Catholic Community. Bishop Norman F. McFarland accepted the name and established the parish on November 22, 1978 . . . the Feast of Christ the King.
Groundbreaking for the first building on our campus was September 15, 1979 for what is today the Community Center. The first masses were held Easter weekend 1980 and the building was dedicated on September 28, 1980 and served as the worship space until October 1987. In a letter to the parish that appeared in the 1980 dedication book, Bishop McFarland wrote:
“You have every reason to be proud of what has been achieved under the dynamic leadership of your pastor, Father William Kenny, and your pride is our own as we embrace you as brothers and sisters in the Lord.”
The priests’ house was completed a year later, around Labor Day 1981. For 10 years it served as the priests’ residence; at one time Fr. Bill and four other associates lived in the house.
At the time of the church building dedication in October 1987, Fr. Bill wrote in a letter to the parish:
“As we become more familiar with this building, I am sure that our worship and other liturgical celebrations will make us more fully appreciative of its beauty and inspiration.”
He also said in the letter:
“We are the living saints of today’s church, aware of sinfulness, but more aware of God’s love and invitation to ‘come and follow me.’ May the months and years ahead bring us closer to Christ the King and to one another in His kingdom.”
The priest’s house was remodeled in 1991 and now serves as the parish offices. The parish campus was completed with the building of the Activity Center. Groundbreaking was part of the parish’s 20th anniversary celebration in November 1998. The building opened in October 2000 extending the reach of our community beyond our parishioners, as many non-members in our neighborhood and area use the gymnasium and meeting rooms.
In conjunction with the building of the Activity Center, the Community Center was again remodeled to include a full-service kitchen and banquet facility. Community members gather in the center for coffee and donuts following weekend liturgies. The parish gift store, Inspirations, was also moved to the Community Center in 2000.
A focal point of the church campus is the sculpture that sits in the courtyard. It was crafted by Joseph O’Connell of Minnesota and was five years in the making. Mr. O’Connell was asked to use the gospel for the Feast of Christ the King (Cycle A – Matthew 25:31-46) as the inspiration for the sculpture. It was dedicated in September 1995.
Elements of Christ the King Catholic Community environment have received awards from the the Interfaith Forum on Religious Art and Architecture and Ministry and Liturgy Magazine over the years. Among the honorees are: “Mary and Child” sculpture by Mary Eldredge; “Stations of the Cross” by Patricia Walsh (also designed altar, ambo and other furniture items); stained glass windows by Jean Myers; and the “Nativity” and “Genesis” sculptures by Stewart Nakamura.
Since the inception of Christ the King Catholic Community countless parishioners have donated their talents, time and resources to help make our community what it is today.
Priests who have served our community are:
Fr. Ray Rabatsky, April 1980
Fr. Mike Mahone, October 1982 – March 1987
Fr. Francis Vivona, June – August 1985
Fr. Thomas Phillips, October 1985 – June 1988
Fr. Frank Hoffmann, July 1988 – September 1989
Fr. Louie Ladenburg, July 1988 – September 1989
Fr. Rick Anderson, July 1989 – July 1992
Fr. Joe Anthony, June 1990 – October 1992
Fr. Leo Coughlin, April 1993 – November 2001
Fr. Bob Stoeckig, September 1996 – March 2000
Fr. Jerry Nadine, July 2002 – November 2006
Fr. Bill Kenny, October 1978 – June 2012
Fr. Manny Guico, April 2008 – present
Fr. Ray Rioux, July 2012 – present