[seal of the state of Florida] The 27th state to be admitted to the Union, 3 March 1845. The early Spanish explorers of Florida, from Ponce de Leon, 1521, to Tristan de Luna, 1559, were accompanied by missionaries by order of the kings of Spain. In 1549 the Dominican, Father Luis Cancer de Barbastro, proto-martyr of Florida, was slain by the Indians near Tampa Bay. When the expedition of Pedro Menendez de Aviles reached the site of Saint Augustine, 28 August 1565, and named it in honor of the day's feast, there were with them four priests, including Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales. The landing took place on 5 September and Mass was immediately offered in honor of the Nativity of Our Lady, at a spot always afterwards called Nombre de Dios (Name of God), near the present Fort Marion. This was the beginning of the parish of Saint Augustine, the first in the United States. It was established as a part of the diocese of Santiago de Cuba, with Father Mendoza as pastor. There is no exact account of the erection of the first church, nor of the earlier first two chapels at the forts of San Mateo and San Felipe. The records still preserved in the cathedral in Saint Augustine date from 1594. Among the earliest missionaries connected with the foundation were several Jesuits sent out by Saint Francis Borgia in 1566-1568.

Catholic influence on the place-names of the state is shown in the following: Ecclesiastically, the state contains the following archdiocese, and the following dioceses, See also,
New Catholic Dictionary

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