Did you know that the smallest Catholic church in the world is located right here in Texas?
The charming St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Warrenton, Texas is a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it wooden white church, and it’s definitely worth visiting when you’re in the area.
Here’s everything you need to know about the smallest church in Texas!
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A Brief History of St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Warrenton, TX
The story of St. Martin’s Catholic Church begins in the late 19th century–but that’s not when the tiny church we see today was built.
In the late 1800s, about 65 Catholic families are estimated to have lived in the area, and a much larger St. Martin’s Catholic Church was built to accommodate them in 1888.
Fast forward to 1915, and increased urbanization in Texas meant that church attendance had slowed to a trickle.
The original St. Martin’s was demolished to build a school in nearby Fayetteville, and the miniature version we love today was built with leftover lumber from the project.
Today’s St. Martin’s Catholic Church is located in the same place as the original.
Several decades after the new, tinier church was built, the school in Fayetteville closed, and several more pieces of the original building were returned to St. Martin’s, such as the church bell and altar.
Today, visitors can leave handwritten intentions in a book on the altar during their visit, and a mass for them is held once a month.
What’s it like to visit St. Martin’s Catholic Church?
When I caught sight of the sign reading “Historical World’s Smallest Active Worship Catholic Church, St. Martin’s, Visitors Welcome” when driving by on State Highway 237, I immediately knew that I had to see what was inside the unassuming white building.
And, honestly, it was even more captivating than I imagined before stepping inside.
The church is a whopping 192 square feet, with 12 pews that can hold roughly 20 people.
Despite this small size–or perhaps in part because of it–St. Martin’s feels more ornately decorated than many churches in Texas, which only adds to its beauty.
There are pamphlets discussing the history of the church inside, and I found myself staying longer than I intended, settling into a pew to read up on the history and enjoy the atmosphere of this unique Texas church.
The exterior is memorable to visit, as well.
Today’s minuscule St. Martin’s Catholic Church is located on the site of the original, which means that the historical cemetery still surrounds it.
How to Visit the Smallest Catholic Church in the World
No official hours are listed for the church online, but based on my experience and that of others, the smallest Catholic church in the world seems to be open to visitors most of the time.
When I arrived on a weekday afternoon, the doors to the church were closed but unlocked, and no one else was around.
If you’re taking a Round Top shopping trip or visiting other nearby towns like Brenham or La Grange, I highly recommend driving by and stopping in to see St. Martin’s!
Even if the church happens to be locked when you visit, the exterior is still worth a quick stop.
You can check the times for the monthly mass in the church bulletin.
Where to Find the Smallest Church in Texas
You can find St. Martin’s Catholic Church a mile east of Warrenton, TX.
The church is located just 3 miles southwest of Round Top along State Highway 237.
Address of St. Martin’s Catholic Church
3490 Texas 237
Round Top, TX 78954
2 thoughts on “How to Visit St. Martin’s in Texas (The World’s Smallest Catholic Church!)”
The Worlds Smallest Catholi Church is in NE Iowa. Johann Gaertner was drafted into Napoleans army. His mother, Magdalena, prayed to the Lord and said if he would let her son come home alive, she would build Him Church. When the Duke of Wellington defeated him at Waterloo, they immigrated to the US. After migrating here, Johann fulfilled his mothers promise and built St Anthony of Padua along the river in 1849 out of logs. In 1886 the little church was rebuilt of stone when farmers started clearing fields. Inside are 4 pews that seat 2 people each for a seating capacity of 8. If you want to see pics of the little Church, email me.
Looks like the Iowa church is about the same size as St. Martin’s (192 square feet)–but part of St. Martin’s claim to fame is that it’s still an active church. 🙂
The Iowa chapel does look pretty, though!