All Saints Catholic Cemetery

Cemetery Photo 13

In 1880, Father Thomas J. Brady, pastor of St. Paul’s, purchased eight acres of land at the corner of Elm Avenue and Gosport Road (now Portsmouth Boulevard) from J. H. Gayle to establish a Catholic cemetery in Portsmouth.  The cemetery was consecrated on June 29, 1884 by Bishop Keane.  Father Brady noted in his diary that $2,300 had been spent to establish St. Paul’s Cemetery, $800 for the land and $1,500 for improvements (i.e., brick wall in front, cedar post and barbed wire fence on the other three sides, draining and ditching, laying out lots, making roads, purchasing and planting ornamental and shade trees, carting labor and such).  There were 597 original lots, each measuring about 20′ x 20′.  In 1883, an additional eight acres was purchased, but in later years that property was sold.  In 1976, the name of the cemetery was changed to Portsmouth Catholic Cemetery, and its management transferred to a board composed of members from the local parishes.  The cemetery has  been renamed  All Saints Catholic Cemetery.  Burial lots are still available, and there is sufficient room for future expansion.  A number of beautification projects are now being planned to enhance this historic property.


Memorialize a Loved One at All Saints Catholic Cemetery

Our local Catholic cemetery, All Saints Catholic Cemetery now has several opportunities available for you to memorialize your deceased relatives and friends in a lasting way.  The deceased persons may be buried at All Saints or in another cemetery locally or out-of-town.  A new area called The Madonna and Christ Child Courtyard has been established at the cemetery. The following memorials are currently available:  brick pavers inscribed with the name(s)  of your loved one(s), crepe myrtle trees with inscribed granite markers at the base, and polished granite benches with name(s) inscribed.   Details and Memorial Donation Order Forms are available in the vestibule/commons area of each of the Cluster churches, in the parish offices, or may be downloaded below.  If you have questions or need additional information, please call Mike Kirsch at 757.617.3713.  Your support of All Saints Catholic Cemetery is much appreciated.


The following persons serve on the Board of Directors:

Michael Kirsch, President

Mary Sue M. O’Brien – Secretary

Rev. Anthony Morris – Pastor of the Cluster Parishes of Portsmouth and Chesapeake

Brian P. Foster

Geraldine J. Jones

James A. Resolute, Sr.

John L. Skrobiszewski

Margaret Stephenson



Today All Saints Catholic Cemetery contains eight acres and is the final resting place of over 1,600 persons.  The entrance gate is located on Elm Avenue.  Among those buried here are clergy and religious who have served in local Catholic churches and institutions.  Among those interred in the clergy section are the following:

–   Rev. William B. Hanley, assistant pastor of St. Paul’s in 1870 and again from 1887 to 1895.  Father Hanley was the first priest buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery.  He died in 1902 at the age of 63.

–      Rev. Thomas J. Brady, pastor of St. Paul’s from 1870 to 1906.  Father Brady established a mission church in Suffolk, now St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Church.  He also began Catholic education in Portsmouth in 1876 with the establishment of St. Joseph’s Academy, the predecessor of the present Portsmouth Catholic Regional School.  He oversaw the construction of the present St. Paul’s Church which was begun in 1898 and completed in 1905.  Father Brady died in 1906.  A marble tablet in the vestibule of St. Paul’s attests to the high regard in which the parishioners held him.

–      Rev. Joseph P. Chodkiewicz, pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bowers Hill, was born in Poland in 1882 and became pastor at St. Mary’s in 1934.  He died in 1936.

–      Rt. Rev. Joseph F. Govaert, beloved pastor of St. Paul’s from 1942 to 1961.  Among Monsignor Govaert’s notable contributions were the establishment of Maryview Hospital, founding of the Bureau of Catholic Charities in Portsmouth, expansion of the Catholic schools, establishment of St. Therese Catholic Church and the School of the Little Flower in 1954, and early planning for the purchase of land in the Churchland area for the establishment of a Catholic parish (now the Church of the Resurrection).  He died on May 14, 1961.

–      Rev. John J. Bannon, assistant pastor at St. Paul’s from 1954 to 1956.  Father Bannon died in 1966 at the age of 49.

–      Rev. Peter A. van Ganzewinkel, assistant pastor at St. Paul’s in 1933 and again in 1943. He also served later as assistant pastor at the Church of the Holy Angels in the Cradock section of Portsmouth.  He was born in 1903 and died in 1978.

–      Rev. Robert J. Walsh, pastor of St. Paul’s from 1974 to 1981 and pastor emeritus until his death in 1999 at the age of 84.  Father Walsh helped in transitioning the parish to the directives of the Second Vatican Council.

There are two sections reserved for members of religious orders who have served in Portsmouth, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and the Daughters of Wisdom.  In the Sisters of Charity section, Sister Mary Garvey, who died in 1916, and Sister Mary Joseph Holly, who died in 1924 are buried.  They served in the Catholic schools of Portsmouth.  Mother Anne Gertrude (d. 1956) and Sister Anna J. Cronin (d. 1979) are buried in the section reserved for the Daughters of Wisdom, who staffed Maryview Hospital.

All Saints Catholic Cemetery is a sacred place, an important part of Catholic history in this area, and another very visible sign of the Catholic presence here.  It is the final resting place of over 1,600  believers in Jesus Christ.  As a place dedicated for the burial of the faithful, it is identified with the local Church and gives witness to the faith of those who are buried there as well as to the faith of their families. It serves the faithful and witnesses to the Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Suffolk communities the Good News of Jesus Christ and the hope we share in the resurrection.  All Saints Catholic Cemetery is worthy of our utmost  respect, reverent maintenance, and full support.  Let us always remember in prayer all the faithful departed who have gone before us and are at rest from their labors.

For further information, please contact Mike Kirsch at 757.617.3713 or