Feast • Sept. 14

Church • Colchester

More precisely known as the Exaltation of the Cross, this feast has been celebrated in the Church since the seventh century. It can trace its roots back to St. Helena, whose pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the early part of the fourth century uncovered what was believed to be the true cross of Christ, located under a dismantled second-century temple to Aphrodite.

St. Helena’s son, the Emperor Constantine, built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the spot where the cross was discovered. Today, this feast is celebrated on Sept. 14, the anniversary of the basilica’s dedication.

Holy Cross Church in Colchester was completed in 1967 and is a prime example of early post- Vatican II church architecture. The church features stonework on both the exterior and interior, constructed of a native limestone, which prevails in the Malletts Bay ledges on nearby Lake Champlain. The main altar is made from one 30-foot ancient, hand-hewn beam felled in Colchester. The parish celebrates both its feast day and anniversary on Sept. 14 with a parish breakfast. The parish has a relic of the True Holy Cross and a first-class relic of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, to whom the parish’s chapel at the front of the church is dedicated.

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

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