The Cathedral of Christ the King is located on Atlanta's famous Peachtree Street in the heart of Buckhead, Atlanta's upscale shopping, dining, residential and business district. The cathedral can be reached within minutes from Interstate 85 or Georgia Highway 400. The church is about 15 minutes northeast of downtown Atlanta and 25 minutes northeast of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. From this location, the fine dining, shopping and cultural attractions of Buckhead are only minutes away.
The first services of Christ the King Parish were held in 1936 in a large home on the future site of the church. In early 1937, the pope elevated the parish to Co-Cathedral status with the Diocese of Savannah. Construction began on the Cathedral of Christ the King later that year. The building was designed by Henry D. Dagit Jr., a prominent church architect, in the French Gothic Revival style, with beautiful stonemasonry, arches and rose windows. In 1939, Architectural Record Magazine named the cathedral the "Most Beautiful Building in Atlanta.'' The parish was decreed the Archdiocese of Atlanta in 1956.
Today the cathedral is home to one of the ten largest parishes in the United States. Its Archbishop, Wilton Gregory, was the first African American to be elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop Gregory is best known for dealing forthrightly and honestly with the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandals that rocked the Church. The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a Catholic priest and the editor of a conservative Catholic journal, said of Gregory in the Chicago Tribune, "He's demonstrated he's among the most clear-thinking and plain-spoken and in some respects courageous of bishops.'' Gregory gained immediate popularity in Atlanta by reopening the Holy Week foot-washing ceremonies to women, reversing the decision of his predecessor.
The cathedral is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion that will add a courtyard and park, additional classroom space and improved parking and traffic flow. The parish also operates a school on the cathedral grounds for kindergarten through eighth grade. The school has been named a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School twice. Fewer than 300 schools in the country receive this honor every year.
Christ the King engages in many different types of outreach to the community. Some of their outreach ministries include:
Hosting two blood drives every year
Working with other area churches to sponsor food drives and other services for those in need
Partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build a home once a year
Sponsoring mission trips to care for needy children in some of the poorest countries in the world
Operating a residential facility for homeless families
Ministering to Georgia's prison population
Volunteering at local shelters
The cathedral is known throughout the city for its beauty. It is a popular spot for weddings and may be used by both parishioners and non-parishioners. Brides caution that it is necessary to book far in advance and that the process of marrying here can be overwhelming, but none was dissatisfied in the end. One woman summed it up, saying, "Everything I dreamed of for my wedding. ... The staff and Wedding Guild ... assure the ceremony runs smoothly from start to finish.''