STAINED GLASS OF ST. AUGUSTIN OF HIPPO, LIGHTNER MUSEUM IN ST. AUGUSTINE
Spain sent troops and Catholic priests here in 1565, with the first Roman Catholic Mass in North America held here on September 8, 1565. The City of St. Augustine was named after Saint Augustine of Hippo, an African bishop who wrote religious books and spread the Gospel in North Africa.
Promoting the Roman Catholic religion was an integral part of the Spanish in St. Augustine and Florida from their first day here. First Jesuit priests and then Franciscan missionaries proselytized to the Indians and the Spanish soldiers.
The City of St. Augustine is the site of the oldest Catholic parish in North America and is the seat of the Diocese of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Cathedral, originally built in 1797 and restored by architect James Renwick after a fire in the 1880s.
The Mission of Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine commemorates the first Catholic mass held some 443 years ago. A 208 foot tall, 70 ton stainless steel cross marks the location where Pedro Menéndez de Avilés planted a wooden cross and claimed North America for Spain and God in 1565. Every year, a historical re-enactment is held (recently around Labor Day weekend), with costumed historic re-enactors and Catholic priests joining to comemorate Christianity's earliest beginnings.
BELOW: A picture of the famous cross which is 208 feet tall, slightly taller than the St. Augustine Lighthouse. It is the tallest structure in St. Augustine.