Saint Mary’s Catholic Cemetery and Queen of Heaven Columbarium

Saint Mary’s Catholic Cemetery occupies an oblong plot between Royal and Washington Streets, bounded on the north by St. Mary’s School and on the south by the busy Interstate I-95 approach to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. In spite of the throb of modern life and activity that surrounds it, a walk among the graves, some ancient, some new, transcends time. Dating from the founding of the parish in 1795, it is the oldest Catholic cemetery in Virginia. William Thorton Alexander deeded the land to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in 1803. Click here to see links for historical articles relating to Saint Mary’s Cemetery.

Message from Our Pastor

Dear Sons and Daughters in Christ,

I am pleased to share with you an opportunity to purchase a niche in our newly constructed Queen of Heaven Columbarium located in our historic Saint Mary’s Catholic Cemetery – see Columbarium Niche Interest Form below. For 229 years, the sacred remains of many souls continue to be under the perpetual physical and spiritual care of our parish priests and dedicated staff. At this point in its extraordinary history, the cemetery can no longer accommodate additional inurnments. As our parish family grows, the building of our new Queen of Heaven Columbarium provides a sacred resting place for members of our parish family who have gone before us in faith.

May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

 Sincerely yours in Christ,

Very Reverend Edward Hathaway
Rector, The Basilica of Saint Mary

Queen of Heaven Columbarium Blessed by Bishop Burbidge on Friday, December 8, 2024

Helpful Information on the Catholic Church’s discernment on Cremation and the Order of Christian Funerals:

Cremation and the Order of Christian Funerals | USCCB

The Basilica of Saint Mary is pleased to announce pre-construction niche offerings in the parish’s new Queen of Heaven Columbarium scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023. The Columbarium will accommodate 539 niches. Each niche may hold the sacred remains of up to two people. The Columbarium provides a sacred final resting place for the inurnment of cremated remains of:

  • current and former parishioners of The Basilica of Saint Mary,
  • persons with ancestors buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery,
  • The Basilica School of Saint Mary alumni, faculty and staff,
  • Basilica of Saint Mary staff and former staff, and 
  • active or retired Catholic Diocese of Arlington ordained priests.

The above includes non-Catholic spouses and immediate family members. The term “immediate family or families” means the spouse, parents, children, step-children, grandchildren, step-parents, and step-grandchildren, and their respective spouses and brothers and sisters of the niche purchaser. The Cemetery Committee, led by the pastor, shall resolve any dispute regarding eligibility for inurnment. For more information about niche availability please complete and submit the Columbarium Niche Interest Form by clicking here or on the button below. Click here to access the Policies and Procedures.

Or visit the Parish Office at 313 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA, to fill out the form in person. A parish staff member will contact you after you submit your Columbarium Interest Form to answer your questions and/or schedule a niche purchase appointment for you.

Beginning January 1, 2024, the niches will be available to registered Catholics in the Diocese of Arlington.

Helpful Information About Purchasing an Urn
The Queen of Heaven Columbarium niches are 12” by 12”.
Here are a number of examples/links to urns you can buy online that will fit into our niches:

If you’ve visited our cemetery recently, you found the entrance gate on South Washington Street locked. Mysteriously, several popular GPS systems have been directing people to detour through the cemetery, especially when traffic is backed up on South Washington. To curb the flow of random vehicles through sacred cemetery space, the South Washington Street gate is now closed, except during burials following funerals. At other times, please use the entrance on South Royal Street, just past The Basilica School of Saint Mary. That gate is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

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