Reinterment to be held for remains found in forgotten Roxbury cemetery

BRIGHTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston announced that a reinterment ceremony for the more than 1,200 bodies from St. Joseph Cemetery in Roxbury will take place at Calvary Cemetery’s mausoleum in Waltham on Oct. 21 at 10 a.m.

The bodies were found in a rediscovered cemetery on the grounds of the former St. Joseph Parish in Roxbury. For reasons unknown, the cemetery, used from 1850-1868, disappeared from city maps in 1882. Those who remembered the cemetery believed that it had been relocated and no records for it have ever been found. The parish was suppressed in 2006.

While preparing the property for sale to the City on a Hill Charter Public School, Father Walter Waldron, former pastor of St. Joseph’s and current pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Roxbury, approached Massachusetts Historical Commission in an effort to ensure there were no human remains accidentally left behind when the cemetery was relocated.

Once it was discovered that the cemetery still existed, the bodies were relocated to Calvary Cemetery and carefully indexed according to their original location. If records of the original cemetery surface, descendants or researchers will be able to locate the site of remains.

Many of the people buried there were refugees from Ireland who came to escape the Potato Famine. From the few gravestones found, it seems that most came from County Donegal in Ireland.

A monument indicating their final resting place at Calvary Cemetery includes a white cross and gravestones found at St. Joseph Cemetery. It will also feature the former church’s bell and statue of St. Joseph.

Father Waldron, Bishop Walter J. Edyvean and parishioners of St. Patrick’s and former St. Joseph’s will attend the service.