Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This Sunday, all three readings can be expressed in this way: faith is a journey, a journey that demands sacrifice; a journey that leads to glory.
The first reading presents the journey of Abraham. Abraham was seventy-five years old when God called him to make a journey of faith. God called him to leave behind his homeland for the Promised Land. Out of faith Abraham began the journey. It was not an easy journey towards the Promised Land. His faith was challenged over and over. Each time he was challenged he took another step of faith in God. Abraham’s life is a journey of faith. He is indeed the Father of the faithful.
Saint Paul tells us in the second reading that his own journey of faith demands bearing “the hardship that the gospel entails.” His journey of faith was filled with hardships, difficulties, shipwrecks and imprisonment. For Saint Paul, the Gospel is the good news which we need to bring to share with others even though we have to accept hardships and sufferings for the sake of the Kingdom.
Yes, Faith is not just something we profess. Faith is a life that we lead. Faith is a journey from death towards life. Faith demands that we make that journey from sacrifice to glory. It demands that we separate ourselves from the powers of the world, from our own selfish desires in order to give ourselves to others. This is the path to glory for a Christian. And it is a path full of joy.
Let us joyfully set out for a journey with the Lord and with one another. It is a journey of joy, a journey of sacrifice, and a journey leading us to the Glory of God.
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.