History of Our Church

Humble Beginnings

The history of St. Augustine Church in Montpelier is rich in people, in pride, in tradition, and in devotion. It is a remembrance of God celebrated for over a century, in a church constructed of Vermont granite, built by Vermont Hands.

The cornerstone of our present church was laid in 1892. Eleven years later - years of dedication, hard work, and commitment - the first Mass was celebrated on Easter Sunday 1903. The Montpelier Daily Journal chronicled the event as a celebration for the entire city, not solely the Catholic community. "They have built a sanctuary that will be a joy and an inspiration not only to them, but to their children and their children's children for generations to come."

St. Augustine Parish is a vital spiritual community composed of a historic church, St. Monica-St. Michael School (located in Barre), the rectory, and a cemetery. We are a spiritual community blessed with devout parishioners whose participation in the various ministries reflects their deep commitment to the church and to parish life. Our fine parish school offers children a values based education solid in Catholic philosophy. St. Monica-St. Michael School is a source of pride for all of us - another of our many blessings.

St. Augustine Church on Barre Street is more than a century old and the old St. Michael's School building was constructed in 1938. (One must remember that both the church and the school were dedicated in other locations in the mid 1800s.)

 

The Remarkable Stained Glass Windows

For more than half a century, the parishioners of St. Augustine have worshipped in the tempered light of the church's beautiful array of stained-glass windows. The windows, a defining feature of the church, were made by the Wilbur Burnham Company of Boston and were installed over a year-long period that began in the fall of 1937 and continued almost until the end of 1938. They cost $25,000, and were added to the church during the pastoral stewardship of Monsignor W.P. Crosby.

Each window tells a story. Together they are a colorful celebration of the Catholic faith and reflect the two thousand years of Catholic tradition that have shaped the religious beliefs of the parish family.

View a selection of the Stained Glass that tell the Story of the New Testament.

Above the altar, piercing the high expanse of the wall like jewels, are three small windows, each containing a circle against a backdrop of blue. Each circle symbolizes one of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. God the Father is symbolized by a hand, expressing the strength and power of the Creator. God the Son is symbolized by a lamb, recalling the words of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God." In the third circle a dove soars with wings outspread, symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

Each of the three windows also contains two gothic arches, each of which in turn contains a symbol of sacrament. A baptistry symbolizes the sacrament of Baptism; Confirmation is symbolized by a descending dove; Penance by the "Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven," as it was described by Christ to St. Peter. Anointing of the Sick is shown through a representation of an oil stock, while Holy Orders is represented by the chalice, book and stole that reflect the powers of functions in priesthood. Matrimony is expressed by hands joined in an expression of mutual friendship and fidelity. The lower window, above the altar, symbolizes the Eucharist.

 

View our collection of windows CLICK HERE