This is the 200 ft cross erected in 1965 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first Mass said on American soil.
The Spanish priest recorded the event in his diary. He came ashore flanked by the soldiers, with banners flying and trumpets playing. From the ships in the bay the cannons were firing a salute. Now that’s what I call a Eucharistic procession. Perhaps we can convince Fr Newman to add a canon salute for special solemnities…
I’d never visited St Augustine before. What a delight! A little bit of the old world transplanted. The only thing I remember being taught in American history about the contribution of the Spanish is that Ponce de Leon was a bit of a fruitcake who was foolishly searching for the fountain of youth.
No mention of the great contribution of the Spanish to the development of a Christian civilization in the New World. One of the things I have found so intriguing in learning more about both the California missions and the Spanish missions is that the Spanish were actually transplanting a medieval model for Christian culture. Just as the monasteries were the center for education, trade, health care and welfare, so the missions were designed as little outposts of a Christian culture.
Of course there were problems and abuses due to human nature, but it is fascinating to think what kind of real Christian culture we could create if we allowed our faith to properly inform our economics, our education, our health system and our welfare programs.