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First Mass in America

 

Father Juan Perez, who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to the New World, offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the first time on the shores of America. Selecting an elevated spot, an altar was erected beneath a crude canopy, and there amidst the beauties of nature, was laid the foundation of Catholicity in the Western world. Around this solitary altar, and at its first sacrifice, Columbus and his mariners knelt in humble adoration and poured forth fervent prayers. At a distance, grouped on the ground, the natives gazed upon the scene in mute astonishment. At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice the priest turned to impart a solemn benediction to Columbus and his companions who knelt before him. Columbus had the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered in all the prominent places he discovered. At Havana, Cuba, one of the original chapels still exists on the spot where the astonished natives witnessed the grand and imposing ceremony. At Isabella, in Haiti, the ruins of the first church still remain.

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