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The Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel: Pensacola’s Catholic Presence

“Proclaim Christ: Encounter Him in Word, Sacrament and Service.”

St. Michael Catholic Parish traces its foundation to Don Tristan de Luna’s landing on Aug. 14, 1559. Accompanied by five priests of the Dominican Order and one lay brother, the first Catholic Mass in what is now the United States was celebrated at the landing site on Aug. 15, 1559, the feast of the Assumption of Mary. After several unsuccessful attempts by Spain at colonization, the Catholic Church’s presence was officially established on May 10, 1781 by Fr. Cyril de Barcelona, the chaplain to the Galvez armada. From the first church in an old warehouse on Pensacola’s waterfront, St. Michael has been a continuous Catholic presence in Pensacola. Three additional St. Michael churches were built over the next 100 years,

After several unsuccessful attempts by Spain at colonization, the Catholic Church’s presence was officially established on May 10, 1781 by Fr. Cyril de Barcelona, the chaplain to the Galvez armada. From the first church in an old warehouse on Pensacola’s waterfront, St. Michael has been a continuous Catholic presence in Pensacola. Three additional St. Michael churches were built over the next 100 years, thelast being destroyed by fire in Sept. 1882.

This current church was dedicated on Jun. 6, 1886 on land that had been purchased in May 1882. Pope Benedict XVI elevated St. Michael Church to the status of a Minor Basilica on Dec. 28, 2011, thus honoring the architectural and historical significance of both church and parish in the history of northwest Florida. The Basilica of St. Michael now stands as a witness to the honor and glory of God in the heart of Pensacola.