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,
In today’s gospel, Jesus encountered with two persons, a woman with the hemorrhage and a dying little girl. In the crowds, the woman with the hemorrhage tried to touch Jesus in faith, and Jesus felt power flowing out of Him to heal the woman (Mark 5:29). The Pharisees and Temple leaders would consider her unclean and anyone who touched her, or was touched by her, defiled. Jesus wasn’t interested in that. Mark emphasized that the poor woman had suffered that illness for years, and Jesus saw her as a woman of faith and he healed her.
But the little girl was the main reason for Jesus’ going to the house of the synagogue officer. “She’s dead,” people said to the officer. “Do not be afraid, just have faith,” Jesus told the officer, father of the girl. The people at the house mocked Jesus when he said, “She is not dead, but asleep” (Mark 5:39-40). Jesus went into the room along with three disciples and the terrified parents. He raised the girl up, and then, in one of the warmest moments in the gospels, He turned to the parents and asked them to give her something to eat (Mark 5:43). The Savior of the world, told the parents to resume caring for their child.
A defiled woman, a dead child, and our Compassionate Savior. His care, love and healing were far more powerful than the prohibitions of the law, far more powerful than the forces of nature, and far more powerful than the forces of death. There are several ways that we can consider this gospel reading. There is one way that we should look on these healings from the viewpoint of the Lord. We are called to be followers of Christ. We are called to be like Him, to love as He loves. We are called to have compassion for the hurting. We are called not to judge the cause of their pain like the Pharisees or Scribes; rather we are called to care for them.
Sadly, many see the cause of the sickness but not the sick people. Questions arise in their minds when they look at the sickness not the person of the sick. It is not the way of Christianity. Jesus didn’t care if the woman had a situation which would have caused the Pharisees to call Him defiled. He didn’t care if curing a person would get Him in trouble with the authorities. He didn’t care if he was being mocked by the crowd since they did not understand what He was doing. Jesus was only concerned about those who hurt and who needed his healing.
Jesus heals the sick and raises the dead to life. He heals each one of us from our sins and promises that on that day when our faithful work is done and He finally draws us to himself to be with him forever.
May God bless us all!