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.