St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church

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St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church


St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax Station was built in 1860 and became the first Catholic Church in Fairfax County.

During the construction of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad through Fairfax County, many Irish Catholic immigrants came to the area to work on the construction crew. A priest from a parish in Alexandria offered mass in train boxcars.

During the Civil War, the Union Army used the church and after the Second Battle of Manassas, Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, ministered to the wounded in the churchyard. Church pews were used for firewood.

Later President Ulysses S. Grant ordered new pews to be made for the church and they are still in use today. Today's congregation meets in a new edifice on Sideburn Road, and the original church is used for special occasions.


Photo by Gilbert Donahue


Copyrighted material, not to be reproduced without permission of owner, Gilbert Donahue