History of Saint Andrew Apostle Parish

“Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build.”
Psalm 127: 1


In June, 1959 Saint Andrew Apostle Parish was established 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 in Wheaton, MD. Services continued there while the Church was under construction. Groundbreaking for the new ten acre site at the corner of Kemp Mill Road and Arcola Avenue was 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 first pastor was Msgr. Joseph B. Coyne.  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.  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 Krastel, Rev. John Stack, Rev. David Conway, Msgr. Thomas Kelley, Rev. Joseph P. Kennedy, Msgr. Michael J. Mellone and, currently, Rev. Daniel P. Leary.

The interior of the church, August 1, 1960.

Saint Andrew’s Dedication Ceremonies, November 27, 1960


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