Friday, July 16, 2010

St. Francis Borgia, S.J. Finding His Place In Florida

A triple alignment of historic significance will take place in conjunction with the dedication of the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum on Sept. 4. "It doesn't matter what your religious affiliation is. Anyone who has lived in St. Augustine or visited the Oldest City should recognize the importance of this historic event when the casket of Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles makes a brief stop below the Great Cross and the statue of Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales on the way to its place in the new museum," said Eric Johnson, director of Mission Nombre de Dios. In 1565, Menendez landed at that spot and claimed the site for Spain and the Catholic Church. It was here that he knelt to kiss a wooden cross presented to him by (Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales) Father Lopez who was chaplain of Menendez's expedition and founding pastor of the parish of St. Augustine. A diocesan priest from Jerez de Frontera, Spain, he celebrated the first Mass in the new colony on Sept. 8, 1565. The 208-foot stainless steel cross, marking the site of the landing, was erected in 1966 to commemorate the 400th anniversary. It serves to remind visitors of the role played by the Christian faith in the history of both Florida and the United States. Lighted at night, it often serves as a navigation tool for boaters, day and night. Menendez's coffin currently is housed in a side room of the mission gift shop. For two decades, it sat in the shrine chapel of Our Lady of La Leche. In the early 1960s, it was moved to the gift shop, where it could be maintained under controlled temperatures. The coffin will be moved to a central place of exhibit in the new museum......Taking up permanent residency in the (look down in the comments section>) museum will be white marble statues of Pius V and St. Francis Borgia that have been removed from San Lorenzo Cemetery. The 5 ft. statues, originally displayed in the Cathedral Basilica, were placed in the cemetery in 1965. The statues are in the process of being restored. Pius V was the pope during the Menendez era. St. Francis Borgia was the Father General of the Jesuit order in Spain in 1565.
Link (here) to read the full article at St.

In 1565 and 1566 he founded the missions of Florida, New Spain, and Peru, thus extending even to the New World the effects of his insatiable zeal.
Link (here)

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