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,
The Feast of the Ascension is one of the most dramatic events in our liturgical year. It is dramatic in what it is all about: the lifting up of the Risen Jesus to his place in heaven.
In the account given in the Acts of the Apostles of this Sunday, Jesus was literally lifted up from the earth to heaven before the disciples. Then came the appearance of two men in white with their words: “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here looking at sky?” (Act. 1:9-11).
This feast indeed marks a crucial point in the history of salvation. Christ has completed his work on earth then returned to the Heavenly Father. The work of salvation is then transferred to the Church. From now on the disciples should be getting on with the mission that Jesus has given them.
This feast also can be seen as a handover moment and it is completed by the Feast of Pentecost which marks the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Apostles and the mission of the Church really begins. Despite the fact that the disciples continued to struggle with doubts, misunderstandings and confusions, Jesus wanted them to be mature and confident to carry out his mission by themselves, to proclaim the Good News to all until the end of time. The history of salvation is not ended with Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension, but also with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, in order to continue His mission.
As members of the Church we are called to be actively involved into the mission of the Church, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus in word and in deed to make His message of love and of salvation known to the people around us.
May God bless us all! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL MOTHERS IN OUR PARISH FAMILY!