Blessing the Gabriel Gireaudeau cover stone

On July 12, 2016, Father Leopold Keffler, O.F. M. Conv., blessed the grave stone of Gabriel Gireaudeau that was returned in June 2016 to it original location on the grounds of St. Mary Basilica. Several interested parishioners attended the blessing ceremony in the Bishop’s Prayer Garden.

  • My Image

    Father Leopold Keffler blessing the covering stone as Walter Maier, James Guercio and Peter Burns listen to the blessing.

  • My Image

    Mary Eidt, Patricia Murphy, Walter Maier, Father Leopold Keffler, Peter Burns, Rita Tibbets, Annette Burns, Jimmy Guercio, and Ann Shadnaigle, attended the blessing ceremony.

  • My Image

    Theresa Burns Anderson, Annette Burns, Peter Burns, Ann Shadnaigle, Brendan Anderson and Brigid Anderson with statue of angel donated to St. Mary Basilica by the late Peter and Therese Burns. (They are the children, granddaughter and great grandchildren of the late Peter and Therese Burns)

  • My Image

    St. Mary Basilica Archives Committee with Father Leopold Keffler, Mike Murphy, Mary Eidt, Patricia Murphy, Jimmy Guercio, Annette Burns, Betsty Holleman. Father David O'Connor and Kate Cole not pictured.

“We thank you, God, for all those who have gone before us in establishing our Church community, who have paved the way for us today. We thank you for those who have been role models for us. We ask you to bless this memorial stone. We ask you to help us to remember our roots and to grow from them. We pray in Jesus’ name.”Blessing given by Father Leopold

From the St. Mary Archives . . .

The text below was taken from the memorial plaque located on the rectory wall next to the cover stone


In the year of Our Lord, 6 May 2016, this covering stone was removed from Natchez City Cemetery, Plot 1 of the Old Catholic Cemetery. It was concealed by the marble covering stone of Gabriel’s wife, Felicité Pomet-Gireaudeau, who died on 11 January 1862.

Gabriel Gireaudeau was a prominent member of the first board of trustees in 1821.
In 1824, Gabriel was president of the Roman Catholic Society of Christians in the City of Natchez which governed the Catholic Church from the departure of Spain in 1798 until 1841when Bishop John Chanche arrived.

The parlor of the Gireaudeau home on the northwest corner of State and Rankin Streets “often served as a chapel in which Mass was said by visiting priests...”

“He died without a priest attending him.”
Cradle Days of St. Mary’s at Natchez


St. Mary church property was carved out of the Old Natchez Burying Ground from the Spanish period. The return of this stone to St. Mary property in the Bishops' Prayer Garden serves as a reminder of its original location before the establishment of the Natchez City Cemetery.


Sacred To the memory of Gabriel Gireaudeau… view image of covering stone.
Epitaph on Gabriel Gireaudeau’s 1827 Tombstone… view epitaph.
Plot of city property surveyed in 1845 shows proximity of Gireaudeau property to church property… view map.


Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral