The Mission Nombre de Dios traces its origins to the founding of the City of St. Augustine, America’s oldest City, in 1565. On Sept. 8, 1565 Pedro Menéndez de Avíles landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the Church. It was here that Menéndez knelt to kiss a wooden cross presented to him by Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, chaplain of his expedition. It was on these grounds that Father Lopez would celebrate the First Thankgsgiving Mass and begin the work at America’s first Mission. It was at this sacred spot that the Spanish settlers would begin the devotion to Our Lady of la Leche, the first Marian Shrine in what is today the United States.
Prince of Peace Votive Church
Most visitors to Mission Nombre de Dios begin their tour or pilgrimage at the Prince of Peace Votive Church, located at the San Marco Avenue entrance to the grounds in St. Augustine. The church was built in 1965.
The Great Cross
The Great Cross, made of stainless steel and rising 208 feet above the Matanzas marshes in St. Augustine, stands as a sentinel over the Mission and a Beacon of Faith for all who pass by. It was erected at the direction of Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley and was dedicated during the diocesan Eucharistic Congress of October 1966. Like the Prince of Peace Church, the Great Cross celebrates the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Mission Nombre de Dios.
For a more extensive history of Mission Nombre de Dios, visit www.missionandshrine.org. There you will find information on the facilities of the Mission and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, educational tours for pilgrimages and school groups, The Shrine Gift Shop and the Mission Museum.
Director of Mission
Eric P. Johnson
Customer Service and Receiving