Reopening Public Masses at Saint Andrew’s


CURRENT CONDITION:  Public Masses Will Be Held This Week St. Andrew’s

We are currently able to safely accommodate a maximum of 163 people inside the church. Restrooms will be available. Signups for weekend Masses are required.


8:30 AM


9:00 AM


Saturday Vigil 5:00 PM, Sunday 8:30 AM (Livestreamed <HERE>), 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, and 5:00 PM.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to Mass to accommodate seating.

Because Missals have been removed from the church, you are invited to use the electronic WORSHIP AID <HERE>.


In accordance with health and safety guidelines and guidance from the Archdiocese of Washington, you are invited to attend Holy Mass with the following restrictions:

  • Under guidance from the Archdiocese of Washington and Montgomery County, the maximum allowable capacity for our worship space is currently 163 persons.
  • Masks are required throughout the entire Mass. You will remove your mask only to consume the Eucharist.
  • Please sanitize your hands before entering the church.
  • Observe the usual social distancing norms once inside. Family members may sit together, but otherwise allow at least 6 feet of space between you and your neighbor. The pews will be marked to help with spacing.
  • Form a single line in the center aisle to receive the Eucharist while observing social distancing. When you approach for Communion, approach with your “unit” (that is, as an individual, couple, or family), remaining six feet from other “units” in the line and from the minister. When it is your time to receive, keep your mask on and remain six feet away from the minister while he shows the Host and says, “The Body of Christ.” After you respond, “Amen,” approach the minister with your mask on. Place one hand under the other while keeping your fingers together. Receive the Host in your hand, then step six feet away towards the side aisle. Then carefully loosen your facial covering, consume the Host, and replace your facial covering before proceeding to your pew using the side aisles. If the minister touches anyone’s hand, he will immediately disinfect his own hands.
  • Communion:
    • All Catholics present who are in a state of grace will be invited to receive Communion.
    • Those who do not wish to receive sacramental Communion may make an Act of Spiritual Communion.
    • Those wishing to receive Communion on the tongue for weekend Masses are asked to go to Deacon Steve, located near the statue of Saint Andrew, to help us accommodate this preference. Although each person retains the right to receive on the tongue, the Centers for Disease Control have recommended against it; but more importantly, out of love for our brothers and sisters, and out of kind concern for the vulnerable and our sacred ministers, those who normally receive on the tongue are respectfully asked to consider receiving in the hand as a temporary measure. It is a legitimate practice attested to our Catholic Tradition since the ancient Church. The minister will immediately disinfect hands after each communicant who receives on the tongue, even if no physical contact is made.
    • For weekday Masses, those wishing to receive Communion in the hand are asked to approach the line first. Those wishing to receive Communion on the tongue are asked to wait until the end of the line.
  • Collection: A collection basket will not be passed around; it is positioned for contributions in the middle of the Church. Online Giving is another option available through Faith Direct. Consider enrolling today <HERE>.
  • Please depart promptly after the dismissal and maintain appropriate distancing as you exit the church and head to your cars. Doors will be propped open to avoid unnecessary contact with door handles and pushbars.

The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in effect, and we will continue to offer Masses on the website. Our live streamed 8:30am Mass on Sundays may be viewed <HERE> at that time. If you are unable to view it live, we invite you to view the recorded Mass that will be archived in Parish Chronicle <HERE> once it is complete. We ask for your prayers and patience as we take these next steps in the reopening process.

The Pastor continues to work with the Pastoral Council on the planning and process for Masses as Montgomery County and the State of Maryland continue to reopen, according to the guidelines issued by the Archdiocese of Washington.


Archdiocese of Washington

An Archdiocesan plan for celebrating public Masses, following updated state and district guidelines, was issued on May 14 <HERE>. The Archdiocese of Washington, by way of the Moderator of the Curia, shares important daily updates to Pastors regarding COVID-19 procedures. On June 19, the Moderator of the Curia advised Pastors that Montgomery County parishes could resume public Mass at up to 25-30% capacity. Therefore, at Saint Andrew’s our maximum capacity in the church was set at 180 people. This limit was increased to 40% in September although we maintained our capacity at 180.  New Montgomery County restrictions effective in November have limited this to 163. As the faithful are able to gather for Mass again, some changes will be essential to ensure the health and safety of those who attend. These include:

  • Social distancing
  • Wearing a mask
  • Limited Attendance at Mass
  • Limited Church seating
  • Liturgical changes – such as distribution of Holy Communion under one species, no exchange of the sign of peace, no holy water fonts, etc. – will remain in effect

Additionally, the Dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, issued on March 12, 2020, is still in effect until further notice for those who choose to remain at home, such as those particularly vulnerable due to age or pre-existing health conditions.

More information is available on the Archdiocese of Washington coronavirus webpage <HERE>.

Please continue to monitor the Archdiocese of Washington’s website and state and county websites below for announcements on reopening conditions during this fluid situation. Father Mel Ayala will provide updates on the specific implementation of the plan for reopening for the parish as the situation evolves.



Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland signed a new Executive Order to begin Stage Two effective June 3 of the ‘Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,’ which lifts the order requiring the closure of non-essential businesses. Further information on the announcement of Stage Two is <HERE>.

The Maryland Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives issued specific guidance and best practices for religious services on May 13 <HERE>.  Churches and houses of worship may begin to safely hold religious services, at up to 50 percent capacity, with outdoor services strongly encouraged. However, due to the variability in COVID-19 conditions across the state, Stage Two will be implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that empowers individual jurisdictions (such as Montgomery County) to make decisions regarding the timing of reopenings.

On September 1, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland would begin Stage Three of reopening on Friday, September 4. Under these new guidelines, capacity for religious facilities may increase from 50 to 75%, subject to local orders. The new Executive Order is <HERE>.

Montgomery County

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich signed a new Executive Order that allowed Montgomery County to move to Phase 2 effective June 19. An amended Executive Order went into effect at 5pm on November 10 limiting total church occupancy to 25%.

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