August 15, 2009 marked the 450th anniversary of the first Catholic Mass at Pensacola, Florida. Earlier Masses had been said during exploratory expeditions in the continental U.S., but this was the first at a settlement, albeit one that would last for little more than a year. Dominican priests of the Tristan de Luna expedition celebrated Mass on August 15, 2009, Julian calendar, near Pensacola Florida. The Dominicans were Fathers Pedro de Feria, as vicar-provincial of Florida, Dominic of the Annunciation, Dominic de Salazar, John Macuelas, Dominic of Saint Dominic, and a lay brother.
As the Blessed Virgin Mary is the patroness of the US, it was fitting that the date was the Feast of the Assumption. A reenactment occurred with a Mass on August 15th of this year in Pensacola. The King and Queen of Spain visited Pensacola in February as part of the celebrations.
In 1959 the Knights of Columbus erected a cross, pictured above, at the site of the first Mass in Pensacola. 450 years is a huge span of time in human affairs, and it is the Mass, the everlasting sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, that unites us with those Catholics so long ago, the early pioneers of our Faith in our Land.