Alexandria’s St. Mary’s Church, established in 1795, is the oldest Catholic parish in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and when it became a Minor Basilica in 2018, it suddenly was propelled into international view, particularly because it could now potentially serve as a venue for a papal visit.
The Old Town Basilica is expected to draw more national and international visitors, because of its historical and liturgical significance.
Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington mentioned a potential Pope visit to St. Mary’s when he recently blessed the Bells and Umbrellas, symbols of the Church’s ties to the Vatican.
According to parishioner and member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, Alexandria attorney Miriam B. Riedmiller, “St. Mary’s is still a local treasure for the faithful. We hope it remains a parish with a small community Old Town feeling where we can attend Catholic rites and services and family-centered events.”