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,
We come to Mass on Sunday to worship the Lord. It is wonderful. However, it is not right when people judge a Mass according to their view that whether they “get anything out of it.” I’m sure you hear this quite often. “I get a lot out of this Mass” or “I really don’t get anything out of it because the Mass is boring or the priest is not preaching well.”
There is a problem with this. We should not come to Mass for what we can get out of it. We should be concerned with what we bring to it. The Magi did not travel to find the King of Kings so they could get something out of it. They sought the King of Kings so they could do Him homage and bring Him gifts.
They had it right. As in every other aspect of life, when we are looking to “get”, we receive little. When we are looking to “give” we receive more than we ever expected. A young man or woman who enters a marriage for what he/she is going to get out of it, will not get much. A young man who enters a marriage to give of himself, to express his love for his spouse, will receive more than he could ever imagine. It is the same with the Church. If we are looking to get, there won’t be much there. But if we are concerned with giving, then the Lord will shower us with his gifts.
Like the Magi, we come before the Lord with gifts, the gifts of ourselves. We come to do Him homage, to reverence His presence and we humbly ask Him to fill us. Like the Magi, we also journey. We journey throughout our lives seeking meaning, love and fulfillment. We seek the One who is the fulfillment of our life. We come before Him in His Church, among His People, to present our gifts to Him. Our gifts are small yet filled with hope: our sacrifice for our family, our love for God and His community, our talents we offer to serve the Lord, a portion of our income we offer to God. We have so little to offer the Lord. He gives us so much more in return.
May God fill us with His peace and joy throughout this New Year!