The Catholic parishes of South Boston will join together in celebrating the rich history of St. Augustine Chapel & Cemetery beginning on Sept. 15, with a 4 p.m. Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley. The chapel, now in the care of the Gate of Heaven and St. Brigid Parish Collaborative, is still a very active worship site celebrating funerals, baptisms, weddings and a weekly Saturday vigil Mass.
A statement posted by the parishes said: “It is believed more than 1,000 people are buried within the Cemetery grounds, many of whom are early immigrants from Ireland. Restoring and beautifying the grounds and Chapel will ensure the existence of this site for many generations to come.
“We are currently in the planning process for celebration ideas throughout the year to honor the past 200 years of the Cemetery Chapel and its significance within the Archdiocese of Boston, as well as the South Boston community.
“Additionally, we are beginning a fundraising effort to secure funds for needed repairs and improvements to the Chapel itself, as well as the surrounding grounds. Necessary repairs include a new roof, repointing the building, replacing the brick floor within the Chapel, and making the Chapel fully handicapped accessible.”
The historic cemetery on Dorchester Street in South Boston was the first Catholic burial ground in Boston. It was established on land purchased in 1818 by then-Boston Bishop Jean Cheverus, and the first burial there were the remains of Rev. Francis Matignon, a priest who helped establish Boston’s first Catholic community.
St. Augustine cemetery and chapel was founded by a member of the Augustinian order, Rev. Philip Lariscy, who ministered to Boston’s Catholic population, estimated at just over 2100 at the time the chapel was built.
More details are available online at StAugustine200.org.