Meet Father Mel!

Archbishop Gregory has assigned Father Ismael Ayala as Pastor of Saint Andrew Apostle Catholic Church and School in Silver Spring effective July 8, 2020.


Father Mel Ayala grew up in Maryland and attended Saint Paul Catholic Church in Damascus, MD where he received all of the Sacraments of Initiation. At Saint Paul Parish, Father was a pastoral musician for close to 20 years before entering the seminary to discern priesthood. Father was ordained in 2010 by Archbishop Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington. He studied philosophy and theology at Theological College, the national seminary of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In addition to his theological studies, Father also earned a M.A. in Thanatology, the study of death and dying.

In 2010, the newly ordained Father Ayala was assigned Parochial Vicar of Saint Peter Parish in Olney, MD. From 2013 to 2017, Father Mel was the Director of the Office of Worship, serving as Master of Ceremonies for the Archdiocese of Washington. In this role, Father was responsible for several liturgies including the 75th Anniversary liturgies of the Archdiocese, confirmations, ordinations, the annual Red Mass, the annual Mass for Life at the Verizon Center (now Capital One Arena), and the Christmas and Holy Week liturgies at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle.

In 2015, Father Mel assisted in the planning of the Canonization Mass of Saint Junipero Serra, celebrated by His Holiness, Pope Francis, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. In recognition of his dedication and exceptional service for the planning of the liturgy, Pope Francis bestowed Papal Honors and awarded Father Mel the Benemerenti Medal.

Father Mel was assigned Pastor of Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in 2017 during the parish’s golden jubilee. While there, Father completed the construction of the parish’s long awaited parish hall. Father is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, serves on the Priest Council for the Archbishop of Washington, and is Chaplain for the United States Secret Service. When he has free time, Father enjoys traveling, photography, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Father Mel is no stranger to Saint Andrew Apostle Parish. He was assigned as seminarian and transitional deacon here from 2008-2010. While at the parish, he taught confirmation, preached his first homily, celebrated his first baptism, and witnessed his first marriage. Father is grateful for the cards and words of welcome from staff and parishioners and he looks forward to returning and getting (re)acquainted with parishioners this summer and welcoming back students in the fall.

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Parish Events

Mar 01

Lenten Evening Mass

March 1 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mar 02

Knowing Jesus Meeting

March 2 @ 8:00 pm - 8:40 pm
Mar 03


March 3
Mar 03


March 3
Mar 03

Lenten Seniors Mass

March 3 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm