St. Martin of Tours is a church rich with
history and tells the story of a community
blessed by God through good times and bad.
From the grounds of a small brickyard, our
church was constructed in 1853 and named for
the patron of the Bishop, Martin John Spalding.
The parish’s first pastor was a
Franciscan priest and a native ofBavaria. He
concentrated on organizing the parish and
building a parish school. He recruited the
Ursuline sisters from Germany
to open their first
school here in 1858. Within just six years the
parish had outgrown its facility, and the building
was enlarged to its current size and in the shape
of a cross.
In 1861, soon after the church was
enlarged, the great organ arrived from Germany.
Around the end of the 1800’s, there were several
more important architectural additions to the
church, including the stained glass windows and
Stations of the Cross, all made in Germany. In
1901 the church acquired the full skeletal relics
of two early Christian martyrs, Magnus and
Bonosa. They are housed in glass reliquaries
under the two side altars.
From the time of WWI to the late
1970’s, membership declined drastically to just
30 or so people attending Sunday Mass. This
was the result of the declining number of
immigrants, anti-German sentiment and the
flight to the suburbs. Several disasters, such as
fires, a tornado and the 1937 flood did not help.
However, the Lord’s faithfulness was
about to be revealed at its fullest. Under the
Direction of Fr. Vernon Robertson, Mass
attendance began to rise quickly to 350
households by 1992. He used the great organ to
fill the church with classical and traditional
church music. With the spiritual leadership of
Fr. Dennis Cousens and his introduction of
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in 1996, our
total membership reached 1,000 households,
coming from 43 zip codes in the Louisville