Holy Week in the Ancient City
Contemplation and celebration combine on Florida’s Historic Coast to create a Holy Week that is truly inspirational.
There is no other place in the Nation that offers such a long history of Christianity. In fact, it was during the Easter season of 1513 that Ponce de Leon arrived on what is now Florida’s Historic Coast and named the land La Florida in recognition of Spain’s traditional Easter celebration of “Pascua flores” – feast of flowers. Fifty-two years later, Admiral Pedro Menendez arrived here and founded the city of St. Augustine, an event that included the first mass celebrated in what is now the United States. The scene of those historic events and the traditions they inspired remain largely unchanged, especially at the Mission Nombre de Dios – the nation’s most “sacred acre.”
Mission Nombre de Dios
Located at 101 San Marco Avenue, the Mission Nombre de Dios was the first mission created in the United States and its vine-covered La Leche Chapel is the oldest. Pilgrims from around the world visit this more than 400-year old chapel named Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto. Located on Matanzas Bay, the centerpiece of the beautiful mission grounds is the towering, stainless steel Great Cross – the tallest free-standing cross in the Western Hemisphere. Father Lopez, who presented the first mass here in 1565, is immortalized with an impressive statue.
Holy Week Events at The Mission
- Stations of the Cross begin at the Cross daily at 3 p.m. through April 7.
- Palm Sunday Mass (April 2) will take place at 1 p.m. in the Outdoor Worship Area.
- Good Friday (April 7) features a 7:30 p.m. LIVE Stations of the Cross and Passion Play presented by Comunita Cenacolo at the Great Cross.
- Holy Saturday (April 8) includes an 11 a.m. Seven Sorrows of Mary at the outdoor grottos
- Easter Sunday Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. at the Great Cross.
The Mission grounds are open Monday thru Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Parking and admission are free.
In addition to the week-long events at the Mission, dozens of local churches conduct Easter Sunday services. Contact your choice for details
Inspiring and beautiful Easter Sunrise Services are conducted by several churches beginning at 7 a.m. at both Crescent Beach and Vilano Beach. These services are extremely popular, so arrive early and bring blankets, towels or chairs for beach seating.
Other Holy Week Events in St. Augustine
April 2 | Palm Sunday Mass | 11 a.m. at St. Augustine Cathedral Basilica
April 2 | "Colors of Grace - A Lenten Celebration" presented by the Sanctuary Choir | 11 a.m. at Ancient City Baptist Church
April 2 | Blessing of the Fleet | Noon at the downtown St. Augustine Municipal Marina. Vessels from shrimp trawlers to rowboats receive a blessing from the Bishop of the St. Augustine Diocese.
April 3 | Royal Knighting Ceremony | 6 p.m. at the West Courtyard of the Cathedral Basilica. Queen Marianna bestows special recognition on deserving members of the community.
April 8 | 64th Annual Easter Parade | 9 a.m. in downtown St. Augustine. One of the biggest and most colorful in the Region.
April 9 | Easter Promenade | 1 p.m. at the Gazebo in the Plaza. St. Augustine visitors and locals promenade in their Easter finery.
Click here to discover more things to do during Holy Week and Easter.
National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios101 San Marco Avenue,
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument1 South Castillo Dr.
St. Augustine, Florida 32084