Sailing into a small cove on the coastline of what was known to the Spanish as La Florida, five ships under the command of General Pedro Menendez de Aviles, came to the New World from Spain. Sent by King Philip II, they arrive in hopes of establishing a colony securing the land for Spain, and most importantly, to convert the native American Indians to Christianity.
Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, recorded the day's events in his diary:
"On Saturday the eighth the General landed with many banners spread, to the sounds of trumpets and the salutes of artillery. As I had gone ashore the evening before, I took a cross and went to meet him, singing the hymn "Te Deum Laudamus." The General, followed by all who accompanied him, marched up to the cross, knelt and kissed it. A large number of Indians watched these proceedings and imitated all that they saw done." Father Lopez celebrated Mass at a rustic altar made of wood, the sky served as the roof for what was the first parish Mass in what is now the United States. The Spanish settlers of St. Augustine established the first Shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the United States.