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 of Bavaria. 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 Metro area.