About St. Mary Parish

St. Mary Catholic Church, established in 1795, and is the oldest Catholic parish in the Commonwealth of Virginia and West Virginia, which was one state up until 1863. To fund the building of the church, Colonel John Fitzgerald, friend of George Washington and an early mayor of Alexandria, took up a collection. According to local tradition, Washington himself made the first donation. A chapel was built at the south end of the city, on land presently used as St. Mary’s Cemetery located at 1000 South Royal Street.

In 1810, St. Mary moved to its present location in the heart of the city – 310 South Royal Street. Throughout the 1800s, St. Mary played a crucial role in the growth of Catholicism in Virginia. The many mission churches that St. Mary established have gone on to become independent parishes within the Diocese of Arlington.

Today St. Mary has more parishioners than Alexandria had residents when the city was founded and strives to build the Catholic community with faith, love and service.

When visiting Alexandria, please visit St. Mary and worship with us. You will find directions to St. Mary Church here.  On this site you can also find out if you live within our parish boundaries or find information about how to provide us with your contact information and register for offertory envelopes.  If you have any questions regarding our parish, please do not hesitate to contact the parish office.


History “News”

On December 7, 2015, St. Mary parish was honored with a visit from the Sons of the American Revolution who formally recognized five of the patriots buried in our parish cemetery (1001 South Royal Street, between South Royal and South Washington). These men fought courageously to secure the independence of our fledgling nation.

Our St. Mary school children took part in the ceremony, along with local officials and dignitaries.

A plaque bearing the names of the five patriots is being placed in the cemetery, reading —

In this Cemetery rest the earthly remains of Patriots in the Revolutionary War who fought for the cause of Liberty:

Francis Ignatius Hagen, 3d Virginia Regiment; enlisted 1777; born about 1754; died December 15, 1830

Lawrence Hurdle, Private, Maryland Line; served 1776-1782; born about 1750; died December 1, 1848

Pierre LaCroix; served in French and Indian War and American Revolution; born about 1742; died September 22, 1830

Francis Murphy, Pennsylvania Militia; enlisted 1777; born about 1763; died June 30, 1837

John Riordan, 3d New Jersey Regiment; enlisted 1778; born about 1763; died October 10, 1803

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