Christ the King Church was founded in 1940 to serve the African-American Catholics in High Point, and has since become a multi-ethnic parish celebrating both the diversity and unity of the Catholic faith and tradition. Then-Bishop Eugene F. McGuinness of Raleigh invited the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement of Graymoor, NY to staff the new mission in High Point in 1940. Father Bernardine Watson served as the first pastor, originally celebrating Mass in a funeral home. Through the generosity and perseverance of Father Watson and several benefactors, a clothing shop was acquired for use by the mission. While Mass continued to be celebrated there during much of 1941, the mission community members also turned their attention to building a new church and rectory on Kivett Drive. The new colonial-style church was dedicated by Bishop McGuinness Dec. 14, 1941.
During the 1940s and into the ’50s, the Christ the King parish community continued to grow. A school building and convent were built in 1949, and in 1950 the Franciscan Handmaids arrived from New York City to staff the school. The African-American communities, both Catholic and non-Catholic, of High Point, Thomasville and Greensboro were served by the new Christ the King School, which opened its doors to 50 students in September 1950. The friars continued their pastorate in High Point for the next several decades, cultivating a faith community that became continually more culturally diverse over time. A stained-glass window behind the church’s choir loft depicts that diversity, with Jesus surrounded by four individuals representing the African, Asian, European and Indian bloodlines that make up much of the parish community today.
Lowering enrollment, financial difficulties and the recalling of the sisters to New York forced Christ the King School to close in 1981. The diocesan office of education converted the school for use as a day care center, which began its operation in August 1981. That same year, Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement arrived at Christ the King Church to conduct the religious education program and other ministerial work, including assisting at the day care center. The center, still located on parish grounds, is now privately operated and continues to serve the area.
Upon the friars’ leaving High Point in 1991, Christ the King Church became a diocesan parish in December of that year. Fathers Martin Madison and John Hoover served the parish until December 1994, when Father Philip Kollithanath, was appointed to Christ the King Church. Assisting in the advancing growth of the Christ the King community have been many commissions and ministries focusing on the spiritual , educational, multicultural and evangelical dimensions of the parish. Parishioners gather to engage in Bible study , to learn English as a Second Language, to put their faith into action in the local community and to celebrate their ethnicity. A Hispanic center and bilingual religious education program provide sharing and learning opportunities for English and Spanish speaking parishioners, and the parish African-American Ministry offers outreach programs benefiting the local region. The Women’s Guild, Altar Guild, 55+ Club and Young & Spirited Group are active in parish and community services, and the evangelization commission provides for the spiritual needs of homebound parishioners through its Visitation Ministry. The community of Christ the King Church looks ahead to expansion and renovation projects that will accommodate the needs of a growing parish. One hundred and sixty-one households currently make up the parish registry.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This Sunday, we listen to the famous parable of the talents. The man who receives five talents invests them and makes an additional five. The second receives two and makes two more. But the man who receives one talent, buries it. Jesus calls him “wicked” and “lazy.”
Usually Jesus is on the side of the least; however, in this parable, the man who had received the least gets chastised. The point is that the man who receives least is driven by fear. He receives only one as compared with others and is afraid to fail. So he does nothing. He buries his talent.
Whatever God has given us, we are to thank him and ask his help to invest it as best as we can. That is our Christian gratitude to our Lord. We are the servants of God, and we are responsible for the way we use the talents God has given us. We believe that God has equipped each one of us with unique talents and abilities. How we use our abilities to work for the Kingdom and to enrich the life of others is our discipleship. We are called to fulfill Jesus’ command to love God and others.
Mother Theresa once said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” She didn’t speak about doing great things, but doing little things with great love. For us, we believe that every day is an opportunity to begin the work of the Lord once again even though we have received only one talent. We need the determination to live each day as the first day and greatest day of our lives. Every day we need to begin again, to find new ways to live as thanksgiving to God and to others. Every day we look for a chance to come to the needs of our brothers and sisters. Every day we continue to experience the presence of the Lord and to show forth the beauty of our faith and the light of the Kingdom to others.
May God bless us all and HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!