Conversion of St. Paul

Feast * Jan. 25

Church * Barton

It was one of the most dramatic conversions in all of salvation history. Once the zealous persecutor of Christians, Saul – who would later become Paul – was forever changed when he encountered Jesus in a blinding light on the road to Damascus. It was Jesus’ identification with the people of God – “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” — that determined Paul’s theology for the rest of his life. From that point on, Paul’s one mission, particularly to the Gentiles, was to tirelessly proclaim the redemption Jesus won for all people on the cross. This feast is celebrated on Jan. 25.

St. Paul actively persecuted Christians but was converted on his way to Damascus when he encountered Jesus. In Barton, the Catholic church experienced its own conversion. In 1878, a congregationalist church was purchased and converted into a Catholic church. Legend has it, the conversion of the church inspired the name Conversion of St. Paul.  In 1903, the present church was built on a hill overlooking the town. Above the alter is a stained-glass window depicting St. Paul writing. At the back of the church is his crest which serves as a reminder to go out and spread the Gospel.

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

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