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 Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd who willingly lays down his life for his sheep. Then he adds: “I have other sheep who do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice and there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16). So who does Jesus want in his flock? The answer is simple: Everyone! As St. Paul believes that God “wills everyone to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth” (1Tim. 2:4)
Jesus wants to embrace all the people simply because He is the Good Shepherd who cares for each one of his sheep. The term used to describe Jesus as the “good” shepherd in Greek is “Kalos.” Kalos is not simply good, it is rather something more like model or ideal. So Jesus is the model shepherd. He is the ideal shepherd. He is the best of shepherds who is willing to sacrifice His life for His sheep.
The point is Jesus didn’t just die for mankind in general. He died for you. He died for each of us. He knows His sheep. He knows you. He knows me. In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows everything that has affected our lives from the beginning of our life. He knows why we are striving to fulfill our life in faith and hope or to give up on it. He knows why we have decided to commit ourselves to Him or to reject Him for gaining the world. He knows us well; he knows the thoughts and reasons deep within our minds.
If we wish to be followers of the Good Shepherd, we better learn from his role model, we must develop that same compassion. This means that we must open ourselves to the power of God’s love and then do all that we can to make that love a reality in the lives of the people around us. Indeed, to follow Jesus we are to place the interests and needs of others before our own wishes and preferences. That truly requires self-sacrifice, self-abandonment in our life for the sake of the Kingdom. Yes, it’s worth to do so for whatever we do for our brothers and sister, we do it for Jesus our Lord.
May God bless us all!