Mark your calendars now to celebrate the founding of America’s First Parish – the Cathedral of St. Augustine – and St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city. Both were founded together on Sept. 8, 1565, by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, one of Spain’s most experienced admirals.
This year, the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park will host Founder’s Day on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The day begins with a 10:00 a.m. historical re-enactment of the Spanish landing led by the Historic Florida Militia’s Men of Menendez at the Shrine (27 Ocean Ave.). At 11:00 a.m. Bishop Felipe Estévez will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at the rustic altar on the mission grounds just as Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales did 452 years ago.
The afternoon will provide opportunities for children and families to meet the historical re-enactors and have their photo taken with them at 12:15 p.m. at Mission Nombre de Dios. At 1:00 p.m. there will be a procession from the mission grounds to the Fountain of Youth (11 Magnolia Ave.) where there will be a Thanksgiving Meal and blessing.
Free parking is available at both the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche and the Fountain of Youth.
Regular admission rates apply to enter the Fountain of Youth ($15/adults, $14/seniors 60 and older, and $9/children ages 6-12). Admission to the Fountain of Youth is free for St. Johns County residents (with ID).
To learn more about Founder’s Day activities at Mission Nombre de Dios, call (904) 824-2809 or click here for a flyer with the schedule.