Saint Augustine continued on Saturday, September 4, with a tradition interrupted last year: the celebration of the landing of Spain and the founding of the city September 8, 1565 to Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his soldiers in the still very impressive location of Mission Nombre de Dios, because it is almost identical to what it was at the time, and it is easy to imagine the huge shock of civilization that took place there.
Every year, during the reconstruction, the father of the conquistador is replaced by the father of Gilbert Medina, a priest from Deland: he embodies the figure of Menéndez. Among the priests involved are those from St Thomas More Priory of Sanford (near Orlando), including two Frenchmen: prior, father Marc Vernoy and father Pierre Duverger, who is not in the photos because he took them (thank you for sending!). It was Father Marc Vernoy who blessed the crowd this year. The civil shock thus leaves room for reconciliation, as it is difficult to forget that Menéndez landed here to exterminate the French colonies. Fort Caroline… Which he succeeded in (with the help of a hurricane that had previously sunk several ships of the French king).
The Founders’ Day is indeed a symbol of friendship, as St. Augustine claims to be the site of an authentic “first Thanksgiving,” 56 years before the arrival of the Mayflower in 1621 (which we will hear about next month as November, as it will be the 400th anniversary).