Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 04 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
Aleteia logo
Travel
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Where is the “World’s Smallest Catholic Church?”

feature

Public Domain

Zelda Caldwell - published on 04/16/18

The chapel seats about 20 people and is local tourist attraction

The sign outside St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Warrenton, Texas, is meant to catch the eye of visitors taking leisurely drives down rural Route 237, halfway between Austin and Houston: “HISTORICAL, WORLD’S SMALLEST CATHOLIC CHURCH, ST. MARTIN’S, VISITORS WELCOME.”

Without the sign, a passerby might mistake the tiny church for a shed or child’s playhouse, as Gerald McLeod notes in his article about the church in the Austin Chronicle.

“We get lots of people asking about the history of the church,” Mary Leitko with the Round Top Chamber of Commerce told the Austin Chronicle. “It’s quite a local tourist attraction.”

Mass is celebrated once a month (“for the intentions left at the altar”) in the 12-foot by 16-foot church, which has barely enough room for six rows of pews to seat 20 people. Members of the parish can attend two other, much larger churches in nearby Fayetteville.

According to a history of the church, McLeod notes that there was once a larger church by the same name where the tiny one stands. In 1915, when the population shifted to the cities, the church became less necessary, and the original St. Martin’s was dismantled in order to use the wood to build a school in Fayetteville

According to the article in the Austin Chronicle, the parishioners used leftover wood salvaged from the school project to build the little church overlooking the original St. Martin’s church cemetery.

When the school was finally demolished in 1968, many of the original church fixtures were transferred to the chapel, including the altar, the church bell, statues, and an oil painting of St. Martin.

The church is often open for visitors, and each year on All Soul’s Day the descendants of the 62 people buried in the cemetery hold a memorial service.

To attend Mass at St. Martin’s please consult the church bulletin for the dates it will be celebrated.

To read more about St. Martin’s and the history of Fayette County, Texas, read the entirety of Gerald McLeod’s article “The world’s smallest catholic church is right here in Warrenton, Texas,” (Austin Chronicle) here.

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

jour1_V2.gif
Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries


Top 10
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.