Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This Sunday’s reading begins with a wonderful definition of faith. “Faith is the confident assurance concerning what we hope for and the conviction about the things we do not see” (Hebrew 11:1). St. Paul was not just talking about dogma or definitions of various items in our belief system; he was talking about Christian lifestyle. The lives of people of faith should reflect their whole value system of life.
The people to whom the letter of St. Paul was addressed were indeed floundering in their faith. They had lost their initial fervor. They were threatened by persecution and hardship. It was a big challenge to follow Jesus, and sometimes it became too much for them. St. Paul challenged them not to give up, but rather to recognize the treasure that they could not see, that is “an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Luke 12:33). If they really had faith, they would not be afraid of hardship since they have possessed the treasure, Jesus the source of life; they would grow closer to God through their Christian lifestyle.
To live out our faith we are to learn and acknowledge a life of uncertainty and unpredictability. Often it has to cope with tragedy which surpasses our human reason. Just like Abraham and Sarah who left their homeland for the Promised Land which was unknown to them, we need to learn to trust in God. Abraham and Sarah completely trusted in the promise of God even though they could not see or know the route of their journey. So we have to believe. We shall not give up. Faith enables us to trust in God and take risks in living the gospel of love for the sake of the Kingdom.
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.