Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi – the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. In the Gospel Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (John 6:52). St. Paul also reminds us that the bread we break is a “participation in the Body of Christ” and the cup we drink is “a participation in the Blood of Christ” (1Cor. 10:16).
As Catholics, when we enter a church, what makes us feel like a church is the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle because we indeed believe that the Eucharistic Presence fills us and sustains us. And we take this presence within us every time we receive communion. That is what it means to be a Catholic. We are people of the Body and Blood of the Lord.
Since I have been here at Christ the King, I strongly believe that the spiritual life of our parish might have grown in virtue of our sincere devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. That’s why we have Adoration and Benediction every Friday in order to encourage people to recognize the divine gift of the Body and Blood of Christ. The fact is that every time we come to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we do have a tremendous effect not just on those present, but on the entire parish. Why? Because we are the Body of Jesus Christ, when even only one of us is united deeply to the Eucharistic Presence, the entire body is strengthened by the nurturing life of the Eucharist. I encourage you to participate more on this important liturgical activity.
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord is a yearly reminder of the special Gift we celebrate that is the Eucharist. Still, some Catholics don’t want the Church to focus on the Eucharist; yet they do not see a spiritual value in weekly reception of communion. Perhaps some are more concerned with other liturgical signs or activities than with receiving communion. That is exactly what the disciples said to Jesus at the conclusion of the Great Discourse on the Eucharist in the sixth chapter of John. They said to Jesus: “This teaching is too difficult. People are leaving us.” Jesus responded, “And are you leaving too?” Peter’s answer to Jesus is our statement of faith: “Where are we to go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:60-68).
The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord reminds us of who we are. We are People of the Eucharist.
May God bless us all!
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.