Saturday was our last day in St. Augustine, and we had one more place to visit – The Mission El Nombre De Dios.
On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed at this spot and claimed the location for Spain and the Church. Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of the expedition, presented a cross to Menendez and celebrated the first parish mass at this same location.
The Great Cross, erected in 1966, stands 205 feet above the Matanzas River.
The impressive bronze statue of Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of Menéndez’s fleet; celebrant of the First Mass here; and first missionary, stands eleven feet tall.
It’s a beautiful and peaceful cemetery,
with the Stations of the Cross along a walkway through the grounds.
The Rustic Altar is located in the spot where the first mass was held, and it still used for masses on special occasions.
The Chapel of Our Lady of La Leche
The present chapel is small and simple, holding approximately thirty persons, and reflects the Spanish mission style of the sixteenth century. The chapel houses the statue of Our Lady of La Leche and is a special place of quiet prayer for those seeking Our Lady’s intercession.
The Chapel was beautiful, and a peaceful location for reflection and prayer.
Outside the Chapel is the burial site of several Sisters of St. Joseph, who came to St. Augustine after the Civil War to teach the newly-freed slaves.
Their Patron Saint, St. Joseph
We enjoyed our walk through the grounds of the mission – it’s a beautiful sanctuary in the middle of America’s oldest city.
From there, we had planned on going to mass at the Basilica, but we were over an hour early, so we drove down towards St. Augustine Beach to get a look at the beach on a sunny day.
On the way there, we checked the mass time at St. Anastasia on St. Augustine Beach, and it turned out that we were just in time to catch the 4pm mass.
We opted for a table inside, since dark clouds were moving in and it was looking like we were going to get some serious rain.
Our timing was great, as we were seated right away and our food came quickly. By the time we left, there was a huge line outside, and the parking lot was overflowing. Dinner was great – it was definitely a good choice!
We never did get to see the beach on a sunny day, but we couldn’t leave St. Augustine without driving down to one of the beach ramps. Since it was evening, and with storms moving in, there was nobody collecting fees and we were able to drive onto the beach for a quick picture!
On Sunday morning, we hitched up and moved north into Georgia – officially ending our winter 2015 season in Florida!
It turned out that our location was just down the road from where our friends, Debbie & Ken, were staying with Debbie’s parents, and they invited us to join them for dinner. We enjoyed a great meal, and another wonderful visit with our friends before they move north for the summer. Thanks guys!
After one more overcast day, we were promised some sunny and nice weather! We’re looking forward to it!