The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios traces its origins to St. Augustine's founding in 1565. On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed and proclaimed this site for Spain and the church. Menéndez named this site Nombre de Dios, meaning "Name of God." He put Father Lopez in charge of the mission, making him the first parish priest in St. Augustine.
It was on these grounds that Father Lopez celebrated the first parish mass and began the work at America's first mission.
In the early 1600s, St. Augustine's Spanish settlers established the United State's first shrine to the Virgin Mary. The Shrine of Our Lady de la Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios was recently elevated to a National Shrine by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The small mission chapel on the grounds holds an image of Our Lady of La Leche and is a destination for pilgrims who travel from all over the world to pray for her intercession.
In addition to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, a walking tour of Mission Nombre de Dios includes several interesting stops: the Prince of Peace Church, the Great Cross, the Mission Plaque, and the Rustic Altar. Visitors can also tour archaeological excavation sites or go into the Shrine shop.
The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios is at 101 San Marco Avenue, just north of downtown St. Augustine.
- The grounds are open for visitors on Sunday through Saturday, from dawn to dusk.
- The gift shop and museum are open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- The Historic Chapel and National Shrine Church are open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- See their website for services and special events.
- Only service animals are allowed on the grounds.
- Parking - The gates are open from dawn to dusk.
- Parking is free for the first hour. Parking is also free when there is a scheduled confession, mass, or exposition, held at any time of the day.
- Other than those times, there is a parking fee after the free first hour. That fee can be paid through the Passport Parking App.