Feast • Sept. 8

Church • Swanton

While Scripture does not give an account of the event, the nativity or birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated since about the sixth century, although there are other, con-flicting accounts of when this particular feast came to be.

It likely originated in the Eastern Church in response to the Council of Ephesus, in which Mary was officially proclaimed “Mother of God” (Theotokos), and it is thought that the date of Sept. 8 was chosen because the Eastern Church year begins in September. Later, this feast would help determine the date of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Swanton is the third church to be built to serve the parish; it was built in 1925. The first church was destroyed by fire in 1858, and the second church was demolished in the 1930s. The hand-carved, wooden altar dates back to the original church. It was retrofitted with interior lighting in the 1970s. Father James Dodson has been pastor since 2019. He commented that the ceiling of the church reminds him of the hull of ship, an image often associated with the Church in the broader sense.

—Originally published in the Fall 2020 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.