Celebrating St. Augustine’s 449th Founder’s Day


The Diocese of St. Augustine will celebrate the City of St. Augustine’s 449th Founder’s Day, Sept. 6, 2014.

On Saturday, beginning at about 9:50 a.m., at the Mission Nombre de Dios (27 Ocean Ave., St. Augustine) there will be a historical reenactment of the landing by the city’s founder, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés at the exact landing point of the Spanish colonists in 1565.

The site of the landing is marked today with a 208 foot stainless steel cross erected in 1965 by the late Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city’s founding and the establishment of the Catholic faith in the continental United States.

Following the landing there will be the ceremonial kissing of the cross, raising of the Spanish flag, and a proclamation read by an official with the City of St. Augustine.

Bishop Felipe J. Estévez will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the rustic altar, just as the original expedition’s chaplain Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales did on Sept. 8, 1565 at about 10:45 a.m.

After Mass, all those present will process from the rustic altar to the statue of Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales where a plaque honoring the statue’s listing in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service of the Department of Interior, Washington, D.C., will be unveiled and blessed by Bishop Estévez.

As a special note, the local Honor Guard provided by the Knights of Columbus will be joined by the Knights of Columbus-Father López Council of Pinellas Park, Fla. celebrating their 50th anniversary as a council.

St. Augustine is an important part of American history, and predates our country’s oldest colonies, including Jamestown and Williamsburg. It was established by the Spanish and serves as the oldest, continually occupied European settlement in the continental United States. It is the site of America’s first parish – known today as the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Augustine.

For more information about the reenactment, call (904) 824-2809 or email: eric@missionandshrine.org.

Photo by Don Burk
Bishop Felipe J. Estévez holds a ceremonial cross for Pedro Menéndez to venerate as part of the 2012 Founder’s Day reenactment.