HIGH POINT — Holy Mass on the patronal feast of Christ the King Sunday capped off more than a week of diamond jubilee celebrations Nov. 20 by members of Christ the King Church in High Point.
The diverse parish, comprised of more than 160 Anglo, Latino, Indian, African and African American Catholic families, marked the 75th anniversary of the dedication of their church with a litany of devotions and activities leading up to the feast day: a novena to Christ the King, Eucharistic Adoration and outdoor procession, a pilgrimage to the Door of Mercy at St. Pius X Church in Greensboro, a healing Mass, and a food drive that netted more than 1,000 pounds of donations for a local food pantry.
Pictured: Bishop Peter Jugis sprinkles holy water on parishioners at Christ the King Church in High Point during the parish’s 75th anniversary celebration Nov. 20. (Photos by Patricia L. Guilfoyle | Catholic News Herald)
Then on Nov. 20 hundreds of people filled the fellowship hall for a bilingual Mass – the church next door was too small – celebrated by Bishop Peter Jugis and Father Gnanapragasam Mariasoosai, pastor. Bishop Jugis administered the sacrament of confirmation to 10 young people, and he blessed a new tabernacle and Stations of the Cross for the church.
In his homily, Bishop Jugis reflected on the kingship of Christ, the anniversary of Christ the King’s dedication in High Point, and the responsibility of every Catholic – including the newly confirmed – to serve Christ the King in everything they say and do.
In the Gospel reading of the day describing the scene of His crucifixion, Jesus shows “in a most marvelous way” His kingship and His gift of love and mercy to the whole world, Bishop Jugis noted.
“He’s sitting on His throne, which is the cross, from which He is ruling the entire world. For the royal crown, He is wearing a crown of thorns indicating His great humility in suffering to save us from our sins and make us free. Instead of a royal purple cloak ... He’s wearing His Blood.”
“We proclaim Him as our king over all those who govern in our world, whether they be called kings or prime ministers or presidents,” Bishop Jugis said, because “all of that is subservient to Jesus, who reigns as supreme ruler over all of creation, over all of our lives, over every single nation.”
He encouraged the confirmation students to follow Jesus as their King. Receiving the sacrament of confirmation, he said, means being sealed with the Holy Spirit and “accepting that great privilege, that great honor and dignity of being a confirmed Catholic, of completing your sacraments of initiation and entering wholeheartedly into the service of the King.”
He said the confirmation students, indeed all Catholics, have a duty to be ambassadors for Christ, “to go out into the world and to do our work for Christ. We’re not here to serve ourselves in this world. We’re here to serve Jesus.”
“Sometimes it may be difficult because the world does not always want to follow Jesus’ commandments and is not interested in what Jesus has to say,” he continued. “But we are His witnesses, so that everything we say, everything that we do, should reveal our love for Jesus and should let people know that we stand with Jesus. We stand with Him and not with the passing values of this world.”
Bishop Jugis also reflected on the anniversary of when Bishop Eugene McGuinness came to High Point to consecrate the church in 1941.
“Just think of the witness that this parish has served here on Kivett Drive for 75 years, a witness to the Catholic faith, a witness to our love for Jesus,” he said. “Now it’s our turn in 2016 to stand on the shoulders of that great foundation that has been set down for us, to do our part and take up our role as witnesses for Christ here in this part of High Point.”
A church has three purposes, he reminded everyone. First, it is set aside as a place for people to worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. A church also serves as a place for their sanctification through reception of the sacraments, so that they may attain heaven. Third, a church is a center of evangelization, enabling people to act as witnesses of Christ in the wider community.
“I’m very proud of all that you do to make Christ the King Parish that center of Christ’s presence here in High Point,” Bishop Jugis said, and “to grow as a parish family – in love, in holiness and in mercy, with Jesus Christ as the center.”
In remarks at the end of Mass, Father Mariasoosai thanked Bishop Jugis for his presence and for his homily message to help “make us grow more spiritually.” He also thanked all those who organized and participated in the anniversary celebrations.
As Mass ended, people processed behind Bishop Jugis from the parish hall to the church, where he placed the Blessed Sacrament inside the church’s new tabernacle and blessed new Stations of the Cross.
He then sprinkled the people and the walls of the church with holy water, and – even as the last Holy Door was closing for the end of the Jubilee Year of Mercy – he prayed the blessing of the doors of a church:
“We praise you, Lord God, Father all-holy. You sent Your Son into our world to gather by the shedding of His blood those whom the destructive power of sin had scattered. You sent Him to unite us all in the one sheepfold. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the door through which those who follow Him enter and are safe, go in and go out, and find pasture. Grant that those who enter this church with confident faith in Him may persevere in the teaching of the apostles, in the breaking of the bread, and in unceasing prayer, and so be built up into the heavenly Jerusalem. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, Editor