Saint Martin de Tours Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in America and the third oldest in Louisiana.
It was founded in 1765 by a group of Acadian exiles who arrived that year, the first of many of the unfortunate refugees driven from Canada by the English, who came to Louisiana over a period of some twenty years. It was these exiles who established the Acadian culture and traditions that have left an indelible imprint upon the state of Louisiana.
By an act of the State Legislature, approved March 7, 1814, the church was incorporated; and another act, approved March 16, 1820, authorized the congregation to conduct a lottery to raise funds to build a new church. The current church structure was dedicated on June 2, 1844.
Saint Martin de Tours Church has been the center of religious and cultural activities of St. Martinville and the Attakapas Nation since colonial days.
Three historic buildings sit on the church square. The current church structure, although enlarged and renovated over the centuries, was built in 1836. The church is flanked on the right by a two story rectory, called the “Presbytere” and a two story parish hall on the left. Both buildings predate the Civil War. All three historic buildings face a large grass covered and tree shaded park, forming a dominant and impressive element in the town plan.
In front of the church stands a statue of Father Jan, an early pastor; in front of the rectory is a statue of Saint Martin of Tours, patron of the town and parish; and in front of the parish hall is a statue of a Native American from the Attakapas Nation.
Over the years, the church has become a place where countless faithful have encountered God. Saint Martin de Tours Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 10, 1972. It is recognized as the Mother Church of the Acadians.
The year 2015 was celebrated as the 250th Anniversary of our church parish. Year long events culminated on November 11, 2015, the feast day of Saint Martin de Tours, with a special mass celebrated by Cardinal Cyprien Lacroix, Archibishop of the Diocese of Quebec, Canada.
For more on our church history including descriptions of various statues, historic paintings, church features and the like, please view our online church brochure (click on brochure below at right).
CLICK HERE or on the brochure icon at right to download the Church brochure in PDF format.
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Cardinal Lacroix (above) delivering
the 250th Anniversary homily.
Tuesday, Nov 11, 2015
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church