Mission Statement

Christ the KingPassionistRetreatCenter, in the Spirit of the Passionist charism,
exists to promote the personal reflection and spiritual growth
of all who come according to their needs by creating a safe, welcoming, and prayerful environment
and providing ministries of inspiration, education, and guidance.

Our History

Christ the King’s history includes an 1852 initiative, undertaken by Passionist Fr. Peter Magagnotto, CP in nearby Virginia City, Nevada, during the Gold Rush era. Unfortunately, a lasting presence in Northern California had to wait until the following century.

That same year, back east in Pittsburgh, another Passionist foundation was just getting started.  At the request of Bishop Michael O’Connor, four Passionists arrived in Pittsburgh: Fathers Anthony Calandri, Albinus Magno, Stanislaus Parczyk, and Brother Lawrence DiGiacomo.  Despite early hardships, the fledgling community grew as men joined the order and new foundations were established.  As Passionists expanded throughout the East Coast and Midwestern states, Archbishop Cantwell of Los Angeles requested that they expand west and establish a presence in southern California.  It was 1923 when the Passionists founded a monastery and retreat center in Sierra Madre, a small town near Pasadena, California.  Numerous retreats given to laity, priests and religious gained the Passionist community a strong reputation up and down the Pacific Coast.

Back in Sacramento, a group of men from the Holy Name Union were discussing with their chaplain, Msgr. Kirby, the possibility of establishing a retreat center in north-central California.  Msgr. Kirby remembered, “We have a commitment from the Passionists who used to be in this area years ago, that they would come again sometime.”  Mr. Roy Wilkins was encouraged by Msgr. Kirby to contact the Passionists is southern California.  Within a short time a formal invitation was sent by Bishop Armstrong.  Fr. Angelo Hamilton, C.P., brought the Passionist community back to Sacramento when he arrived in October, 1945.  He came with instructions to build a retreat center for northern California.  Within a short time, several other Passionists joined him at their temporary residence at Immaculate Conception Parish.  In the late summer of 1946, the community purchased 41 acres of land for $27,500 from the Cross family estate in Citrus Heights.  By 1949, a small house had been built on the property and the Passionists took up residence on the last Sunday in November, the feast of Christ the King.  On May 7, 1950, the present retreat center building was completed under the supervision of Fr. Neil Parsons, C.P.  The facility was constructed to accommodate thirty retreatants, with a chapel, dining room, library and two offices.  The first retreat was held for the men of Holy Name Union and the construction workers on the weekend of May 19-21, 1950.  During 1951, a total of 848 men attended thirty-eight retreats.  Additional priests and brothers increased the number of Passionists in residence.  The community conducted parish missions, helped in parishes and served as chaplains throughout the Diocese of Sacramento, northern California and western Nevada.

The retreat center was expanded in 1957 when military barracks from Mather Air Base were moved onto the property.  The transported buildings were pieced together to make eighteen additional rooms for the growing number of retreatants.  By this time, some of the first retreats in the state for men and women in Alcoholics Anonymous were being conducted at Christ the King.  In November 1987, the facilities were expanded.  The Holy Cross Building was constructed with forty retreatant rooms, three small conference rooms and a beautiful large assembly room (The Quinn Room).  The enlarged facilities, able to house over one hundred retreatants, have allowed for the expansion of retreat programs. In November 1987 the facilities were expanded once again but on a grand scale.

Each year, approximately 3000 men and women attend the 20 Weekend & Mid-week retreats, 6 Twelve-Step retreats, weekly AA meetings, directed retreats, Triduum and New Year’s Eve retreats, and other spiritual programs.  These have added the variety of spiritual growth opportunities offered at Christ the King Retreat Center. At least another 4000 people each year attend as Hosted Groups: deacon and priest retreats, study days, Catholic school and parish programs. Various Christian churches enjoy the hospitality of the Retreat Center when they conduct their own workshops, seminars and retreats. The local Passionist community continues to preach parish missions throughout California and the great northwest.

As the needs of the local church continue to shift, so does the focus of the Passionist ministry. An Institute for Counseling and Spiritual Direction has been establishing to meet the growing demand for those services. Also, the Spiritual Life Institute was founded to provide spiritual education and programs to build ecumenical connections. The Community of Passionist Partners has brought a new dimension to the Passionist presence in California. Men and women, married and single, lay and religious, are forming a community to continue the work and carry the charism of St. Paul of the Cross.  While the days of the California Gold Rush are now a distant history, the Passionists continue to mind the spiritual gold of California. The men and women who come the this Passionist retreat center are good people who want to become better people by developing their spiritual life and becoming more deeply rooted in the Gospel of Lord Jesus. The Passionist Retreat Center of Christ the King is a holy ground where people find spiritual treasures more precious than silver or gold.

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