St. Mary of Sorrows has an active cemetery with graves and cremation units available for people who have been parishioners for at least one year.

For questions or concerns please contact Kathy Coleman at the church 703-978-4141 ext.110

St. Mary’s Virtual Cemetery Map
Have you wanted to find a loved one buried in the old St. Mary’s cemetery? Clicking on Cemetery will take you to a virtual cemetery map of everyone buried there. Just type in their name and it will show you where they are located in the cemetery. Recent burials may not be available.

St. Mary of Sorrows
Cemetery Policies

St. Mary of Sorrows Historic Church
Fairfax Station, Virginia
Cemetery Policies
St. Mary of Sorrows
Fairfax Station, Virginia

The following policies have been compiled for use at St. Mary’s Historic Church and Cemetery located at 5612 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, Virginia, 22039.

The policies are designed for the purpose of governing the activities in the Cemetery for the mutual protection and benefit of Grantees (Lot Holder), funeral homes, monument suppliers and the Cemetery as a whole. They are established with certain restrictions to ensure a degree of uniformity and control within the Cemetery grounds to achieve the preservation of its character and landscape qualities that contribute to a peaceful and reflective place.

1. General

Contact Information
St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church
5222 Sideburn Road
Fairfax, Virginia 22032

Operating Hours

The Cemetery shall be open to the public from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.

2. Enforcement Authority

The Cemetery is owned and operated by the Diocese of Arlington and St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church (Grantor). The pastor of St. Mary of Sorrows has the authority over the Cemetery, but overall supervision of the Cemetery is vested in the Cemeterian. The Cemeterian shall have full authority for enforcement of these guidelines with respect to the public, funeral home personnel and their subcontractors and monument supplier personnel use on the Cemetery grounds.

3. Visitors / Uses
General Conduct

3.1 All persons within the Cemetery will conduct themselves in a manner in keeping with a hallowed place. Indecent behavior will not be tolerated and persons violating reasonable standards of behavior will be subject to removal from the grounds at the discretion of the Cemeterian.

3.2 Children under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult and must not be allowed to play or climb upon any headstones and monuments.

3.3 Visitors to the Cemetery who are not members of a funeral procession or party are forbidden to intrude upon a funeral party or to loiter around an open grave.

3.4 Visitors are asked to show respect for the Cemetery grounds by not marking, defacing, or damaging grave markers or landscape features.

3.5 Trash, flowers, containers or any other debris should be placed in disposal containers provided by the Cemetery.

3.6 Pets are not allowed in the Cemetery, with the exception of service animals.

3.7 To preserve the peaceful character of the Cemetery grounds, visitors are asked to refrain from creating disturbing noise such as the sounding of horns, sirens, and loud car radios.

3.8 Skateboards, roller blades, scooters, snowmobiles, ATV’s and other recreational vehicles are not allowed on the Historic Church grounds.

3.9 Filming and photography on the Historic Church property is for private use only. Any commercial filming or photography requests need to be directed to the Cemeterian.

Vehicles and Parking
3.10 All visitors, funeral home and their subcontractor employees’ vehicles shall park in the designated parking lot. The Cemeterian will allow only funeral home subcontractors and monument company equipment into the Cemetery grounds where designated. Any areas damaged by their equipment will be the responsibility of these parties to repair to existing condition.
3.11 Private vehicles are not allowed to drive or park on the unpaved Cemetery grounds.

4. Plot Provisions

4.1 Plots/units are to be sold* only to bona fide parishioners of St. Mary of Sorrows, or at the pastors’ discretion.

4.2 The easement to a plot conveys only the right of burial. The Cemeterian retains control and supervision of all plots that have been sold* and the Cemeterian shall have the right to enter any plot and prohibit, modify or remove any structure, object, improvement or adornment on such plot which may be placed in violation of the rules, or injurious to the lot or adjoining plots, or the general appearance of the Cemetery, which does not have prior approval of the Cemeterian.

4.3 Plots are sold* for no purpose other than for the burial of human remains.

4.4 Upon the death or judicially declared incompetence of a Grantee, it is the duty of the heirs, devisees, or guardian to file with the Cemeterian competent proof of their right to use the unused plot. Further burials on the plot may not be permitted until such proof is presented.

4.5 Plots or cremation units purchased in advance (pre-need) shall be paid for at the time of purchase or as determined by the Cemeterian.

4.6 All standard burial plots shall be sold* in increments of one space or more.

4.7 A perpetual care fee is assessed for all plots and cremation units and included in the sales* price of the plot and/or unit. The income from the perpetual care fund is used for the maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery grounds, parking lot, storage sheds and buildings.

4.8 Plot corners are marked by the Cemeterian.

4.9 If said plot/cremation garden unit is not used for burial purposes within a twenty/year period from date of sale*, Grantee agrees to pay Grantor the sum of Fifty Dollars ($50) within sixty days of said anniversary date, thereby disclosing an intent to use the easement for burial purposes during the next twenty-year period. The same condition applies at the end of each succeeding twenty-year period. Failure to pay said $50.00 may cause a reversion of said easement to the Grantor. It is the Grantee’s responsibility to make payment, not the Grantor’s responsibility to invoice the Grantee. Contact Cemeterian with any questions regarding this intent to use.

4.10 In the event of a breach by the Grantee, the heirs or assigns of any of the above-mentioned conditions or imitations, the easement and license herein contained shall revert to the Grantor, preserving however, all prescription of State law in this regard; and it may re-enter and repossess itself of the lot and said easement and license and hold the same as the Grantor’s former estate and the same as if said easement and license had not been made. No waiver of any such breach shall revoke or impair any of the rights of the Grantor herein any subsequent breach, nor operate as a waiver except as to such particular breach.

5. Interments


5.1 All interments shall be made at the expense of the Grantee or their remaining heirs. A transit permit issued under the laws of another state which accompanies a dead body or fetus brought into this Commonwealth shall be authority for final disposition of the body or fetus in this Commonwealth.

5.2 There will be no interments allowed on Weekends or Holidays, or Holy days not allowed by the Church.

5.3 Notice for opening a grave must be given to the Cemeterian at least 72 hours prior to the time of interment.

5.4 The Cemeterian does not provide pallbearers, color guards, or other ceremonial activities.

Special Considerations

5.5 Any change of location after interment will be done at the expense of the Grantee, and then only under the direction and supervision of a licensed funeral director and Cemeterian. A permit for disinterment and reinternment shall be required prior to disinterment of a dead body or fetus. Such permit shall be issued by the State Registrar or the Registrar of the County or City where the body or fetus was interred to a licensed funeral director pursuant to Virginia Administrative Code 12VACS-550-430.
No disinterment shall be made until all state and local laws pursuant to such matter are complied with.
No grave shall be opened on a lot except at the request of the Grantee or their qualified heirs. A request to open a grave to receive the remains of any person shall be made in writing to the Cemeterian and the Disinterment Authorization filled out.

5.6 The cost of the disinterment and property restoration of the grounds will be charged to the Grantee or duly authorized representative. The Cemetery does not assume any liability for any resulting damage as this would be the Grantee’s responsibility to pay.

6 Physical Guidelines

6.1 Plots shall not be filled above established ground level, except when initially closed to allow for settling. The grade of any lot, once established, may only be changed by the direction of the Cemeterian.

6.2 The Cemeterian will take all reasonable precautions to protect Grantees and the property rights of Grantee within the Cemetery from loss or damage, but the Cemetery cannot be held responsible for loss or damage from causes beyond its reasonable control.

6.3 It is required that Grantees and monument suppliers consult the Cemeterian before proceeding with the installation of any monument and/or marker.

6.4 Approved concrete vaults or liners must be used for all burials. Cremation remains must be in an urn or vault approved by the Cemeterian.

6.5 All graves are to be dug or excavated under the direction and supervision of the Cemeterian or representative.

Burial Plots

6.6 Each standard burial plot shall have a width of 3.5 feet (3 feet for older sections designated by Lot number) and a length of 9 feet.

6.7 No ironwork or other fencing will be allowed on any burial plots.

Cremation Plots

6.8 Urns or receptacles containing cremated remains may be interred in standard burial plots or in designated areas of the Cemetery and the Cemetery’s Cremation Garden. Cremation burial plots shall measure a minimum of 3.5 feet in width by 9 feet in length, and infant lots 2 feet by 4 feet. The opening and closing of a cremation garden site or ground plot will be under the direction of the Cemeterian or a Church Staff person.

6.9 Plot provisions and interment guidelines as outlined herein shall be applicable to cremated remains and burial cremation plots.

6.10 Cremated remains are to remain enclosed in an urn and may not be disposed of on the surface of any grave, or elsewhere in the Cemetery.

7. Monuments and Markers
No monument or marker may be erected prior to the purchase of the right of burial easement and all other associated fees paid. All costs for monuments, markers, lettering and inscription are separate from the purchase and interment fees and are the responsibility of the Grantee.

7.1 No monuments, markers or parts there of shall be removed from the Cemetery without prior notification and written approval from the Cemeterian.

7.2 Any monument taken down for any purpose must be replaced in a timely manner and to the satisfaction of the Cemeterian. Should a monument or marker need to be permanently removed, it shall be removed from the Cemetery and shall be replaced with a monument, marker in­ kind, or restored to original condition to the satisfaction of the Cemeterian.

7.3 After the monument or marker has been approved by the Cemeterian, persons involved in the installation of a monument or marker:

a. Shall comply with all applicable health and safety codes governing the performance of work.

b. Shall comply with all directions and requirements of the Cemeterian.

c. Shall work only during hours of regular Cemetery operation.

d. Shall remove all debris associated with the performance of work and leave the site in a condition deemed satisfactory by the Cemeterian.

7.4 The Cemetery will not assume any responsibility or liability for accident or damage to monuments or markers resulting from the ordinary hazards of Cemetery work.

7.5 All plans for monuments and markers, outside Easement guidelines, must be submitted to the Cemeterian for approval prior to purchase of the monument or marker.

Review of Monuments and Markers

7.6 Proposals for approval by the Cemeterian shall include a dimensioned illustration of the monument and/or marker, specifications for the material(s) and a copy of the proposed
inscription. The inscription should include the full known names of those interred. No monument or marker may be erected, or inscription added without written permission from the Cemeterian.

7.7 Proposals shall be reviewed for appropriateness of material, size, scale, location and style. Please refer to the appropriate subsection for specific information regarding monument and marker requirements.

7.8 No monument or marker shall be installed that does not comply with the Cemetery requirements and/or prior approval for monuments and/or markers.

Burial Plots

7.9 All monuments and/or markers must be of natural stone of a type approved by the Cemeterian and must meet the required height, length, width as specified in the Easement documents.

7.10 Monument and/or marker foundation preparation and installation shall be performed in accordance with industry standards and governing codes. Monuments shall rest on a concrete base foundation. All markers must be set in a suitable solid foundation.

7.11 Monuments or markers shall be in line with the existing monuments or markers whenever possible, to the rear and center on the plot. Front side engraving shall face the same direction as the adjacent monuments.

7.12 Headstone base and monument shall be set on top of the concrete base foundation in accordance with industry-approved standards and applicable governing codes.

7.13 All surface markers, including corner stones, shall be installed flush with the ground, unless otherwise approved by the Cemeterian prior to installation.

7.14 The monument and/or marker shall not protrude upon another plot. All stones shall be placed within the specific confines of the approved cemetery plot.

7.15 In view of the fact, that St. Mary’s Historic Cemetery is a “Gray Granite Cemetery,” all memorials/tombstones will be either gray, white, charcoal or black and will be square or rectangular in shape. Existing memorials/tombstones that have been grandfathered in and that
do not meet these restrictions will not be grounds to ignore these restrictions. Further, the church at the Grantee’s expense may remove any installation done without approval. The approval of the tombstones/memorials must be obtained from St. Mary’s Historic Cemetery Cemeterian before installation. The memorials for individual graves will not be greater than 3′ 6″ from ground to top, be not wider than 3′ wide at the base and 12″ deep (front to back) at the base. Multiple sites purchased immediately adjacent to each other will have memorials no wider than 6′ and will have the same height and depth limitations as the single sites. Footing must be provided for all memorials/tombstones. The Grantee must request any proposed deviations from the restrictions, contained in the Easement, in writing for approval. And as stated previously any unauthorized installation may be removed at Grantee’s expense.

8. Decorations/ Landscaping
Artificial Flowers

8.1 Artificial flowers may be used so as not to interfere with grass cutting operations.

Cut Flowers

8.2 Cut flower arrangements may be set in front of the monument and/or marker stone, provided they are removed from their packaging. All glass vases and decorations are prohibited.

Seasonal Plantings

8.3 The Cemetery assumes no responsibility for maintenance of seasonal plantings. Seasonal plantings may be removed at the discretion of the Cemeterian, summer flowers and decorations by October 1st and fall and winter flowers and decorations by March 1st.

8.4 Potted plant containers no greater than 15 inches in diameter shall be placed at the monument base or sunk in the ground below the surface in a manner that will not interfere with grounds maintenance.
8.5 No flower or plant containers will be allowed in the center of the grave lots or around small marker stones.

Permanent Plantings

8.6 The landscape plans of the Grantor for the aforesaid Cemetery in respect of the location and varieties of trees and shrubs planted or to be planted shall be adhered to, which plans, among other things, provide that (1) no trees or shrubs shall be planted by the Grantee on lots of less than the designated area, (2) only plants approved by the Grantor shall be planted and then only in approved planting spaces and under the supervision of the management of the cemetery, and, (3) the grantor shall have the right to remove any trees, shrubs, or plants which, in the opinion of the Grantor, violate any such plans, obstruct any adjacent lot, walk or road, or, in the judgment of the Grantor, are injurious to the general appearance of the Cemetery.

8.7 No trees, shrubbery or plantings of any nature shall be permitted without prior arrangement with and approval from the Cemeterian. The Cemetery reserves the right to install plant material for landscaping purposes outside of lots.
8.8 Proposals for permanent plantings such as trees, shrubs, ground covers, bulbs, perennials and vines at lots and/or outside the confines of the lot must be submitted and approved by the Cemeterian. Proposals shall include proposed species, size and location.

8.9 The Cemetery may request the removal of or may remove existing trees, shrubs or other vegetation if, in the opinion of the Cemeterian, said plant material has become unsightly. The Cemetery will assume no financial responsibility for such removals.

Flags, Emblems, Government Markers

8.10 A monument company shall set any federal government marker at the appropriate spot at veteran’s grave under the Grantee’s direction and at the Grantee’s expense.

8.11 Public service flags; emblems, ensigns and/or the American flag may be displayed directly in front of or on a monument. Flags will be removed at the discretion of Cemeterian and properly disposed.


8.12 All non-floral decorations other than flags, emblems and government markers must be approved by the Cemeterian before being placed in the Cemetery.

8.13 All decorations must be placed upon the grave or marker in a manner that will not obstruct general maintenance activities, pose a hazard to Cemetery personnel or visitors, appear unsightly, or detract from the dignity and serenity of the Cemetery.

8.14 No sign, bulletin, or poster (other than those posted by St Mary of Sorrows), of any kind will be permitted within the confines of the Cemetery.

8.15 The Cemetery reserves the right to remove and dispose of decorations on a seasonal basis (Mar 1st and Oct 1st) and that fail to meet the standards specified herein.

9. Maintenance

9.1 Cemeterian may take such steps considered necessary in order to preserve and maintain any grave, monument, marker or lot feature.

9.2 The Cemetery reserves the right to prune or to request the removal of or to remove existing trees, shrubs and permanent plantings when, in the opinion of the Cemeterian, such removal is warranted.

9.3 Cemeterian will conduct periodic inspections of the Cemetery grounds to locate and remove weathered or unsightly plantings, flowers, flags and decorations, glass containers.

9.4 Cleanups of the grounds will be conducted continuously throughout the year. Please refer to the appropriate subsections of the Guidelines for restrictions concerning plantings and decorations.

*Sold/Sale/Sales refer to “right of burial only”.

Updated May 2019