From the Diocese of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Fla. – All are welcome to celebrate the founding of America’s oldest city and the establishment of the oldest parish of a permanent European settlement on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mision Nombre de Dios.
The celebration will begin with a 10 a.m. historical reenactment of the landing of the Spanish at the mission grounds by the Men of Menendez, followed by a reading of a proclamation by a City of St. Augustine representative. The festivities will close with an 11 a.m. Mass at the rustic altar celebrated by Bishop Felipe Estévez of the Diocese of St. Augustine.
Founder’s Day celebrates the anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, our nation’s oldest city, founded more than 50 years before the English landed in Jamestown or the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock.
On Sept. 8, 1565, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avíles and a group of nearly 1,200 Spaniards landed on the shores of the city and named the new settlement St. Augustine in honor of the saint on whose feast day they sighted land. Father Francisco López celebrated the first Mass of Thanksgiving on its shores, and today St. Augustine is the home of the first parish of a permanent European settlement in the United States, today known as the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine, as well as the first Marian Shrine in the U.S., the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche.