Located on the central plaza, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is home of the oldest parish of a permanent European settlement in the country. The Cathedral Parish dates to the founding of St. Augustine in 1565, when the Spanish settlers celebrated a Mass upon coming ashore. The first parish church was recorded as having been built at the southeastern corner of today's Plaza. Over the years, battles and fires required the parish to be housed in different locations around the city. In 1786 the Spanish crown ordered construction of a new parish church. The cornerstone was laid in 1793 and the church of the Immaculate Conception opened in August 1797. The Diocese of St. Augustine was established in 1870, and the parish church was elevated to the level of a Cathedral. In 1887 the Moorish-style building was burned when a fire spread from the nearby St. Augustine Hotel. Through a nation appeal for funds, the Cathedral was able to be restored, enlarged and reopened in 1888. The bell tower was also built and added a grandeur to the architecture. The Cathedral remained much the same architecturally as the city approached 1965, the 400th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine. A major renovation was commissioned as the Diocese's contribution to the quadricentennial. A Blessed Sacrament Chapel was added, as well as murals of Florida's Catholic history by artist Hugo Ohlms, and a new tabernacle. In 1976, Pope Paul VI designated the church as a Minor Basilica, the 27th American church to be honored as such. The Cathedral Basilica is also a National Historic Landmark. Today "America's FIrst Parish" continues over 450 years of history in the United States, offering Mass and parish activities to residents and visitors.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is located at 38 Cathedral Place, St. Augustine FL. There is a Gift Shop of religious items located in the Bell Tower.