Bishop John Noonan makes Marian Pilgrimage to city
© 2013 Raphael Cosme for Historic City News
Diocesan members filled three buses from the Orlando area yesterday to participate in the Marian Pilgrimage (Year of Faith) that included a visit to the Mission Nombre de Dios and Our Lady of La Leche Shrine in Saint Augustine.
Bishop John Noonan, from the Orlando Dioceses, joined his parishioners with a special mass celebration at the Prince of Peace Church on the Mission grounds. He spoke about the discipleship of the Blessed Mother and how Catholics strive to emulate her ways.
“During this Year of Faith, the Holy Father has asked the faithful to recognize the special role of Mary in the mystery of salvation, to love her, and follow her as a model of faith and virtue”, said Bishop Noonan.
During the homily the bishop made some introductory remarks about the religious significance and importance of Menendez’s expedition to establish a settlement in St Augustine in 1565.
Pedro Menendez de Aviles, portrayed by Chad Light, appeared before the audience and taught them about the historical landing on September 8, 1565 that established St Augustine as the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the continental United States.
Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, portrayed by Father Gilbert Medina, shared passages from Lopez’ diary of the Menendez voyage.
Before leaving for a tour of several other holy places on the property, including the Great Cross, a legacy of St Augustine’s 400th commemoration, and the Mission’s rustic altar, used to commemorate the first Catholic mass celebrated in La Florida on founder’s day, Eric Johnson, curator and director of the Mission Nombre de Dios, shared several ancient artifacts with the congregation.
Now displayed at the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum are the original Pedro Menendez de Aviles outer-coffin, a gift from Spain in 1924, and copies of the first marriage certificate in the new world, and baptism records from the 1500’s.
Later in the afternoon, the Marian Pilgrimage concluded its tour of the Nation’s Oldest City with visits to the Cathedral Basilica and the Sisters of St Joseph Mother house.
Photo credits: © 2013 Historic City News contributed photograph by Raphael Cosme