Parish History - The Cemetery

Historic view of the cemetary - click to view largerThe history of the Sacred Heart Church could hardly be considered complete without a reference to the cemetery that adjoins the Chapel. Old cemeteries, especially with a rural setting, are always revered areas. They reveal how historical and personal events are always intertwined. The old cemetery at White Marsh has a character, beauty and serenity all its own. It is inseparable from Sacred Heart, linking us with the faith of those who have gone before. The earliest burial record found is from 1819, with several 1822 records listed in the Jesuit archives. The names of three Jesuits are inscribed on the north wal of the Chapel as having died at White Marsh and believed to have been biried near the wall. The earliest
is Brother Elias Newton in 1822.
Elsewhere in the cemetery is the grave of Andrew Jackson (1845-1932), who was born a slave and became a well known jockey. He worked for Oden Bowie, and later James Woodward of Belair Estates, to oversee their horses. Also, long time parishioners have mentioned that a "Potters Field" was located in the Shrine area.
Records show several attempts to maintain the cemetery grounds including an "Old cemetery Society" in 1922. In the 1970s, work groups were formed to help clear the cemetery by righting some tombstones and rescuing others from the vines and weeds of the hillside. In the process the group found many iron crosses dating back to 1862 with the names of deceased. At this time the graveyeard was expanded to the front of the Chapel. A special Mass and ceremony of the Blessing of the Graves is held each year on Memorial Day among the gravesites. Generations of Sacred Heart parishioners are resting here on the hill.

16501 Annapolis Rd., Bowie Maryland 20715 | Office: 301-262-0704 | CCD Office: 301-262-1221 | Fax: 301-805-4686 | email: