Diocese of St Augustine



On September 8, 1565, a small band of Spaniards celebrated Mass on the shores of North Florida in preparation for starting a settlement there. They names their new home St. Augustine in honor of the saint on whose feast day they sighted land. Thus were the seeds of Christianity first sown in America north of Mexico. St. Augustine is the site of the first parish church, now the Cathedral Basilica. The famed Santa Fe Trail originated here, It was from here that Franciscan missionaries began their trek north and west to proclaim the Good News. It was here that the first schools and hospitals were established. It was not until March 11, 1870 that Florida, east of the Apalachicola River, was designated as the Diocese of St. Augustine. The growth of the church in Florida from this Mother Diocese to six additional dioceses and more than two million Catholics is a significant part of the story of the Catholic Church in the United States. Today, the Diocese of St. Augustine embraces 17 counties spanning the northeast section of Florida from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. It covers 11,032 square miles and serves 153,041 registered Catholics.

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