The questions generally fall into three separate categories: 1) about the Infant King Statue, 2) about the Infant King devotion in general, and 3) about the practice of the novena at the Shrine, including the Children’s Blessing
Part I - About this particular statue of the Infant KingHow did this image come to be chosen as the symbol of, and the object of, devotion at the Shrine of Christ the King? A. The mission of the Institute is to draw people closer to our Lord and to spread the splendors of His Kingdom. The Divine Infant, being adorable and approachable, is an ideal representation of Christ's perfections that everyone can relate to; He is attractive and imitable.
Is there a special history behind this 18th century statue? A. Devotion to the Divine Infant is old. The devotion’s true origin appears already in Sacred Scripture with the example of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, the Shepherds, and, who could forget the Adoration of the Magi. The popular devotion as we know it has been particularly strong in Spain since the 15th Century. This statue at the Shrine was crafted in Spain, as part of that wave of devotion. It was gifted to the Shrine by a benefactor. Its craftsmanship, construction, and artistic merits suggest its age to be the 18th Century, if not earlier.
When the statute came into the Shrine’s possession, did it need a lot of restoration work? A. It was well-preserved and in very good condition; all it needed was some touching up and a new set of liturgical garments. You’ll notice that He wears a stole as well. This is to remind us that the Infant King is also Sovereign Priest.
Was it important that it be crowned and formally installed at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, IL by Cardinal George? A. "The more you honor Me the more I will bless you" is the promise of the Infant King. The coronation ceremony is a beautiful public display of honor. Having the Ecclesiastical authority do the crowning shows that the Cardinal grants full approval of this devotion and designates the Shrine to be a particular place of honor for the Infant King. This statue is a very special sacramental. Sacramentals are one of the means through which grace is conferred. The blessing and installation of relics and statues in a church, for example, are important because they can inflame our hearts to devotion and open our hearts to grace.