St. Martin’s shows up on a lot of Texas tourist sites. Promoting itself and the Historical World’s Smallest Catholic Church with Active Worship, the church even has its own Facebook page where frequent posts attest to the little landmark’s popularity.
The present chapel dates from 1915, built on the site of the earlier structure that served a small farming community of Warrenton. As towns in the area grew, the St. Martin’s was joined with the nearby St. John the Baptist congregation in Fayetteville, Texas. Being frugal farmers, the parishioners tore down the old church to provide building materials for a new education building at St. John’s. With some materials left over, they rebuilt the tiny chapel, approximately 14 x 18 feet wide, just large enough for a small gathering of 20 or so.
St. Martin’s for decades has been a satellite chapel connected to St. John’s. In 1968, the old St. John’s was torn down so several additional statues and decorations made their way back to St. Martin’s. According to the Day Trips column, a mass is celebrated at least once a year for a small congregation on All Soul’s Day.
When I’m in Fayette County, I’m not a tourist, so, amazingly, it never occurred to me to look into this unique little building. St. John’s was my church growing up, and I spent many years in the area, but I have never stepped foot in St. Martin’s or even stopped by to take a close look!
I can thank my relations from Austria for opening my eyes to this local landmark. Johannes Huber is visiting in Texas and he just posted some wonderful photos that I’m happy to reproduce here, along with one from the St. Martin’s Facebook page. Next time I’m near the old home place, I’ll make a point to stop by and look for myself.
St. Martin Catholic Church is located on Highway 237 near Warrenton, Texas