Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Saint Mary's Cemetery 150th Anniversary

The other week, Saint Mary's Cemetery marked its 150th anniversary with a special ceremony and the unveiling of several new features. The day began with a mass led by Bishop Michael Barber of the Oakland diocese, who re-consecrated the cemetery grounds.

Following the mass, a beautiful new statue of the Virgin Mary was unveiled. Currently it's near the chapel in the center of the cemetery, but will be moved to near the front gate. Also unveiled was a new grave marker for the last governor of Alta California, Juan Bautista Valentin Alvarado, and his wife, Maria Martina Castro de Alvarado. Some of the most famous of St. Mary's residents, their grave was unmarked until local historian Alfred Janske re-discovered their burial location. He worked with St. Mary's Cemetery, the San Pablo Historical Society, and other groups to have a marker added.

Afterwards I talked with Janske, and learned that the first burial in St. Mary's was Mary Riley, who died December 13, 1863. Her grave is currently unmarked, but he's hoping to get a marker added. Given how far back in local history that is, and her relatively common name, finding out more about Mary's story has been difficult.

More pictures from the 150th anniversary:

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