History of Saint Andrew Apostle Parish


In June, 1959 Saint Andrew Apostle Parish was established as the 25th parish of the Archdiocese of Washington through the division of portions of two parishes, Saint John the Evangelist, Forest Glen and Saint Bernadette’s, Four Corners.

February 7, 1960

The first Mass was held on June 14, 1959 at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, then located on Georgia Avenue in Wheaton, MD. Services continued in the gymnasium there while the church was under construction. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new ten acre site at the corner of Kemp Mill Road and Arcola Avenue were led by Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, John M. McNamara, on February 7, 1960. On November 27, 1960, the  church, rectory, convent, and three classrooms with an activities hall were dedicated by Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle and the Pontifical Mass Sermon was delivered by Rt. Rev. John R. Cartwright.  Our founding pastor was Msgr. Joseph B. Coyne.  There were approximately 800 original parish households.


The interior of the church, August 1, 1960.

Saint Andrew’s Dedication Ceremonies, November 27, 1960












At the invitation of Msgr. Coyne, five sisters of the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Third Order Regular, the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, from Rochester, Minnesota, established the organization and structure that would provide the school’s foundation.  Sister Mary Irene (Sister Irene Kelly) was appointed as Superior and served as the first school principal.

School Opening Day: September 15, 1960

All pupils of parishioners in first through third grade at neighboring Saint John the Evangelist School and Saint Bernadette School were transferred to Saint Andrew’s School. The parish school opened on September 15, 1960 with the first, second and third grades.

Sister Irene pledged, “Science will be taught from first through eighth grade, emphasis will be given to the art of penmanship, the best texts in all subjects will be on hand in September.” Monsignor Coyne wrote in 1960, “In other words, it is Sister Irene’s intention and mine, to make the school as fine an elementary as possible.

As these classes advanced, additional classrooms were added to accommodate them, and Saint Andrew’s eventually grew to sixteen classrooms with two classes per grade. The first class of students, which started in third grade, graduated in 1966. The Franciscans would continue to staff the school until June, 1984, joined by lay teachers as the school grew.

first day first second third grade 1960

Opening day for First (left), Second (center) and Third (right) grades, September 15, 1960


The parish has grown over the years to its current size of over 1200 families with an elementary school of first through eighth grade plus kindergarten, and a Pre-School, Early Learning Center, and Day Care. Educational and social activities and organizations have been added as well. Additional pastors who served at Saint Andrew’s are Rev. Robert McMain, Rev. Francis W. Krastel, Rev. John P. Stack, Rev. David J. Conway, Msgr. Thomas P. Kelley, Rev. Joseph P. Kennedy, Msgr. Michael J. Mellone, Rev. Daniel P. Leary, and Rev. Ismael Ayala. Msgr. Michael Wilson served as administrator prior to the appointment of our current pastor, Rev. John H. Kennealy.


Church Interior 2017

Substantial changes and improvements to the physical plant have been made under the direction of these pastors since the original parish buildings were constructed. We invite you to learn more about some of these renovations through the links below.

Stained glass windows

Changes to the church interior

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