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San Gerardo Maiella

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San Gerardo Maiella is a late 20th century parish and titular church, at Via Romolo Balzani 74 in the suburb of Casilino, just north of the Via Casilina. This is in the Prenestino-Labicano quarter.

Name Edit

The dedication is to St Gerard Majella. He was a holy young disciple of St Alphonsus Liguori, and was one of the first lay-brothers of the new Redemptorist order. He was the focus of an incredible series of supernatural events before his death of tuberculosis in 1755, aged thirty.

History Edit

The parish was set up in 1978. The church was designed by Aldo Aloysi and Ernesto Vichi, and completed in 1981. It was made titular in 1994, and the present cardinal priest is Rúben Salazar Gómez.

Exterior Edit

This is a low Modernist building, on a square plan. Attached to it on the north (right hand) side are ancillary buildings for the sacristies, priests' house, parish hall and cappella feriale which is a side-chapel for weekday Masses. The main body of the church is hidden away from the Via Romolo Balzani behind these subsidiary edifices, but the free-standing campanile is at the street entrance to the complex here.

This campanile consists of two thin white concrete piers, set like the sides of a ladder, with one taller than the other and the shorter one joined to the taller one by a crossbar at its top. The bells are hung in the gap in between.

The main entrance actually faces the Via Francesco Ferralioni to the east, on the other side of a piece of land which was left derelict for a few years after the church was built. It is now neatly paved, with planted trees.

The façade is a low, rather hulking modernist design. There is a strip of white wall below the roofline, and a window strip below that. Below the windows is a floating canopy with a matching strip of white fascia, shallow at either end of the façade but deep over the double entrance doors. This central section, which is the entrance porch, is supported by a pair of square concrete piers but floats to either side of them. The walls below the canopy and flanking the entrance are blank.

The entrance porch has a dedicatory inscription on its fascia, and on the roofline over the entrances is a thin metal pole supporting an equal-armed cross with a cubical block at the end of each arm.

The flat roof of the church has a framework of four enormous horizontal concrete beams forming a cross, dividing the roof into four equal squares laid with an asphalt composition. Each beam has the profile of a right-angled triangle, increasing in thickness towards the centre of the cross. You can see these beams over the roofline from the street.

Interior Edit

The interior is dominated by the roof, which has a central cross formed by the four concrete structural beams mentioned above. Each of these is extended down by a pair of thin parallel veins, between which is stained glass in a mostly blue abstract pattern. These conceal lighting. The four sectors of the roof delineated by the cross-beams contain deep square coffers.

The entrance and side walls have window-strips with similar stained glass near the tops of the walls.

The altar wall has no window strip. Behind the altar is a blank stone wall-screen reaching to the roof, which is extended over the altar as a slab canopy. On the screen is hung a traditional crucifix, with a painted stucco corpus. The screen is flanked by a pair of paintings of angels by Maria Matteini, and beyond these are two vertical window strips with more stained glass.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated:

Weekdays 8:30, 18:00;

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 18:00.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page (a stub)

Parish website (home page has a photo)

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page with photos

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