Our future is built from our past

The History of our Parish.


The history of the Catholic Church in our borough goes back almost to the founding of the town of Waynesboro. Catholic settlers – though few in numbers and widely scattered – were living in the community as early as 1791. The village of Waynesboro was founded in 1797 and became a Borough on December 21, 1818.

The first Mass celebrated in the area was offered in the home of Joseph Oller. The home was a stone structure located immediately adjacent to the old Waynesboro Airport in Rouzerville in Washington Township. This house was later known as the Stouffer House. Neither the name of the priest nor the exact date of the Mass are known, but it is assumed that the date was prior to 1819, because in that year our first church was built.

The second Mass in the Waynesboro area was offered by the Reverend Father Nicholas Zocchi, a missionary priest who came from Taneytown, MD to provide spiritual ministry for the faithful. The celebration took place at 304 East Main Street, the home of a Mr. McFarland, with his family present, as well as Joseph Hoover and family, and Jacob Wright and family. In 1819, Father Zocchi had the first Catholic Church built in Waynesboro. It was located on Mt. Airy Avenue on the side of what is now Saint Andrew's Parish Cemetery. Records indicate the church went to ruin in the 1940's. Between 1819 and 1853, Waynesboro was visited by the Jesuit Fathers from Conewango Chapel, as well as other missionary priests.

On May 9, 1850, Bishop Francis P. Kendrick of Philadelphia laid the cornerstone of a new church, to be dedicated in honor of Saint Andrew the Apostle. This new church was built on property located on the corner of Broad and Main Streets. During the period from May 1850 to 1854, Father William Elder came to Saint Andrew's from Mount Saint Mary's, Emmitsburg, MD every three months to offer Mass. After Father Elder was made Bishop of Natchez in 1854, Saint Andrew's was a mission church of Chambersburg until June 1893 when Father James M. Barr was appointed first resident pastor and a rectory was built. During the pastorate of Father James P. McDermott, a new church was built and dedicated on September 6, 1908, by Bishop John W. Shanahan of Harrisburg. Two major renovations have been accomplished: in 1951, the existing stained glass windows were installed, and in 1988 the church interior was completely renovated to its current condition.

On August 25, 1925 Saint Andrew School was built and dedicated during the second pastorate of Father William J. O'Callaghan. The school was staffed by the Sisters of Mercy until 1970, and later by the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius from 1974 until their departure in 1998. A new wing with three classrooms and a meeting room was added to the school in 1990. The convent building was demolished in August 2000 due to its poor physical condition. In 2013, the school expanded to include middle school, supplying the area with kindergarten through 8th grade – this brought another, much needed expansion on the east side of campus. Currently, the school is staffed by lay teachers and principal.

Saint Andrew's faith community has grown since 1819 from three families of about eighteen souls to approximately 1,690 members. In 1993, we celebrated our hundredth year as a parish. Father Thomas J. Hemler, was assigned to Saint Andrew's in May 1983 through June of 2004. Father David S. Keller was assigned to the parish from June 2004 through October 2007.

November 25, 2007 Father Dennis Gerard Dalessandro was installed as pastor to Saint Andrew's Church.  September 7, 2008 brought a day of celebration to the parishioners of Saint Andrew the Apostle Church, Waynesboro, as they gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church. The day was marked by a Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades with a luncheon following the Mass for all parishioners and their guests.  In June of 2009 Father Dennis Gerard Dalessandro left Saint Andrew's Church to return to Berwick, PA.

On June 21, 2009 Father John B. Bateman was installed as pastor to Saint Andrew's Church. Father John B. Bateman left Saint Andrew's church on June 20, 2014. Father Augusty  Valomchalil was installed as pastor of Saint Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church of Waynesboro on June 29, 2014. Father Augusty Valomchalil left Saint Andrew the Apostle Church on May 07, 2017. Father Robert Malagesi was Installed as pastor of Saint Andrew the Apostle Church on May 21, 2017.

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