First-term Bowie Delegate Adrian Boafo (D) is seeking protections for a gravesite on the outskirts of Bowie. Citing increasing demand by descendants in the local area, he recently sent a formal request to the National Park Service to set the Sacred Heart Cemetary as a National Historic Place.
This gravesite was at the Jesuit-run White Marsh Plantation. In 1741, the Sacred Heart Chapel was founded here and this area, now located on Annapolis Road, became the epicenter of Catholic life in Prince George’s County. An 1853 fire on the property destroyed much of the grounds and records of those who were buried at the gravesite.
The Maryland Catholic Conference supports granting this historic status. A prayer service and legislative meeting with the District 23 representatives was held on Feb. 25 to discuss further steps. During this meeting, Delegate Boafo met several local residents who are descendants of those buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery.
“The cemetery that surrounds the Historic Chapel on the Hill at Sacred Heart is sacred ground and the final resting place for generations of Marylanders. The Church welcomes the proposal to more formally recognize this cemetery’s place in our nation’s history,” said Jenny Kraska, the Executive Director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.
When asked what the next steps for local leadership are, Delegate Boafo said, “At this moment, we are working with the National Park Service to get this burial site preserved as a historic place. Having this site federally preserved will allow for more money, manpower, and protection over maintenance and historical uncovering efforts.”