Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
People asked Jesus a question in today’s gospel that continues to be important to many people today: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” And Jesus answered: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24).
First, we can say that the narrow gate is the way of Jesus Christ, the way to salvation. We enter the way of life in Christ, of the grace of the sacramental life, beginning with baptism. Then we continue to live the fullness of life in Christ by receiving sanctifying graces of God through the Church.
We all know that salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, then the Church is our mother. We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth in Christ. Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith. The Catholic Church, entrusted directly by Jesus, is indeed the teacher of faith with authority for all the faithful. As members of the Catholic Church we are proud to be in direct line with the Church of the Apostles. We know that the Holy Spirit keeps the Church faithful to the Gospel in matters of faith and morals and we feel privileged to be the heirs of this, the richest of all the Christian traditions.
Second, we also know that the greatest of all gifts usually brings with it heavy responsibilities. Membership is not enough; to be Catholic is not enough. To be Catholic always entails discipleship. As members of the Body of Christ, we are to keep faith with Christ and strive to live out the truth of the Gospel, to take up our daily cross, to bear witness to Jesus in the world, to follow teachings of the Church and to accept the duty to remain faithful to all that has been handed down to us. That is the narrow gate we try to enter. If we continue to sacrifice ourselves for our family, for our children, for our community, we know that we are on the right path with Jesus. We are going through the narrow gate to enter the Kingdom of God.
Yes, as Catholics, we are not outside. We are inside. We are with the Lord because we try day by day to build up our relationship with the Lord.
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.