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The view from the inside of St. Mary of Sorrows
(Mouseover the picture for an inside view)
Our wedding ceremony took place at St. Mary’s Historic Catholic Church in Fairfax Station, VA on June 5, 2004 at 4:00 PM.

Saint Mary of Sorrows
Fairfax Station Road & Route 123
Fairfax Station, VA 22039

(703) 978-4141
church plaque The historic St. Mary of Sorrows Church, the first Catholic church in Fairfax County, and only the second church in what is now the Diocese of Arlington, was dedicated in 1860.

The following years were eventful for the nation and the parish. The church and its grounds were used as a hospital following the second battle of Manassas and Chantilly. Because of its proximity to the railroad, wounded soldiers were laid out on the hill stretching away from the church and cared for until they could be sent to hospitals in Washington. Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, spent three days there, and because of this, the agency declared the church a site that was significant to its development.

Catholic workers, who were employed in building the Fairfax Railroad Pass, began work on the structure in 1856.  They were assisted by members of the nearby Hamill family.  Shortly after the dedication, Northern Virginia was ravaged by the Civil War, resulting in the church being requisitioned as a shelter for the wounded. Here, under the direction of Clara Barton, the idea of the Red Cross was developed.  The original pews were removed during the winter of 1861-2 and used as firewood, but were replaced by President Grant.  Funeral services for General Philip Kearney, killed at Chantilly, were held in the church yard.  Later Gen. Robert E. Lee returned the body to the Federal lines, together with the slain officer's horse and saddle. During the Civil War, the church pews were destroyed and burned as firewood. After the war, President Grant commissioned new pews to be made for the church—they are still used today.

The 1870s saw the development of what is now considered the oldest outdoor social function in Fairfax County. What began as a July 4th celebration, developed into the St. Mary’s Labor Day Picnic sometime after 1894.

Due to the rapid growth in Fairfax Station, a building fund was established in 1974 to build a parish center. It was built in 1979.

After the parish center was built, St. Mary of Sorrows parish went to work restoring the historic church. On July 3, 1988, former Arlington Bishop John R. Keating blessed the historic church for the second time in its 130 year history. On this occasion, Bishop Keating said, "the parish has served as a beautiful living symbol of a very strong faith."
Directions from the Hotels in Manassas to St. Mary's:

Exit hotels and turn left onto VA-234 South/Sudley Road (towards I-66)

Merge onto I-66 East via the ramp on the left towards Washington and continue for approximately 8 miles

Take Exit 55 (7100/Fairfax County Parkway)

Merge onto Fairfax County Parkway/7100 South towards Springfield via exit number 55A and continue for approximately 5 miles

Turn left onto Burke Centre Parkway and continue for 0.6 miles

Turn left onto Ox Road/VA-123 North and continue for 0.3 miles

Turn left onto Fairfax Station Road and the church will be on your immediate left
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Directions from Maryland & Northern Virginia (Tyson's Corner) to St. Mary's:

Take I-495 South/Capital Beltway towards Richmond/Alexandria (mileage will vary based on starting point)

Merge onto I-66 West via exit number 49 towards Manassas/Front Royal and continue for 4.5 miles

Take the VA-123 South exit (exit number 60) towards Fairfax

Stay on VA-123 for approximately 5 miles (VA-123 will turn in to Ox Road)

Turn right onto Fairfax Station Road and the church will be on your immediate left
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Direction from Washington DC to St. Mary's:

Take I-395 South

Where I-395 South becomes I-95 South take the Old Keene Mill Road/VA-644 West exit towards Springfield

Continue on Old Keene Mill Road for approximately 5.7 miles

Turn right onto Lee Chapel Road/VA-643 and continue for 3.4 miles

Turn right onto Ox Road/VA-123 North and continue for 0.3 miles

Turn left onto Fairfax Station Road and the church will be on your immediate left
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