Lifestyle

Texas is Home to the World’s Smallest Catholic Church and It’s Open to Visitors

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If you’ve ever driven down Route 237 between Austin and Houston and done a double-take at the sign that reads, “Historical, World’s Smallest Active Worship Catholic Church, St. Martin’s, Visitors Welcome,” you’re not alone. It is, indeed, the world’s smallest church of its denomination, seating approximately 20 people. It’s also a local day-tripping magnet.

Unlike the large vestiges of ornate architecture that you can tour in Praha, Ammannsville, and High Hill, this quaint and tiny house of worship in Round Top, Texas  (one mile east of Warrenton) might possibly be mistaken for a small playhouse were it not for the outside sign. Mary Leitko of the Round Top Chamber of Commerce told the Austin Chronicle, “We get lots of people asking about the history of the church. It’s quite a local tourist attraction.”

Texas is Home to the World’s Smallest Catholic Church and It’s Open to Visitors

Photo: Facebook/Yellow Rose Gypsy

Celebrated once a month, mass is held in this 192-square-foot church, which holds six rows of pews, accommodating 20 people. If the need arises, members of the St. Martin’s parish can also attend two other, larger churches in Fayetteville (approximately 12 miles away). According to its history, at one time there was a much larger church in its place, which went by the same name. It was built in 1888 as a mission of St. John the Baptist Church of Fayetteville. When the population of the area began to shift toward an urban setting, church attendance fell, and in 1915, the original St. Martin’s church was dismantled to allow for the construction of a school building in Fayetteville, using its lumber. With remainders that were salvaged from the school building project, parishioners constructed the tiny church, which continues to overlook the original St. Martin’s cemetery. Descendants of those buried there attend an annual memorial service for All Soul’s Day.

Texas is Home to the World’s Smallest Catholic Church and It’s Open to Visitors
Photo: Facebook/Yellow Rose Gypsy

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