Santa Maria Regina Mundi a Torre Spaccata is a mid 20th century parish and titular church with a postal address at Via Alessandro Barbosi 6 which is in the Don Bosco quarter, south of the Via Casilina and west of the Circonvallazione Orientale (Grande Raccordo Anulare). The main façade is on the Via Augusto Lupi.
The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of "Queen of the World".
The parish was set up in 1961, and provided with a temporary building as a church. This was demolished for the present building, which was designed by Eugenio Montuori and Giuseppe Nicolosi and opened in 1970.
The parish has been administered by the "Calced" Carmelite order of friars since its foundation.
The sanctuary was re-ordered in 1980, and the ferial chapel (for weekday Masses) was re-fitted in 2007.
The church was made titular in 1988. The present cardinal priest is Cardinal Orlando Beltran Quevedo, appointed in 2014. He is the archbishop of Kotabato, in Mindanao which is the southernmost large island in the Philippines.
Layout and fabric Edit
The church is on the plan of an irregular octagon, stretched along the major axis. The sides of the octagon corresponding to the entrance and the back of the sanctuary are very short.
The edifice is basilical, despite its ground-plan, and is actually rather an old-fashioned design for its date (1970). It looks 1950's. Also it was one of the last churches completed before the major re-ordering of the Roman rite also in 1970 and has a large capacity, about 500 worshippers. After then, the expectation that most of the inhabitants of a suburban parish would be regular Mass-goers had to be abandoned and churches became smaller. The favoured basilical layout also lost its status.
The church has two ancillary buildings. To the near left is the former baptistery, a square edifice with a pyramidal tiled roof which was de-commissioned in 1980 and turned into a meeting room. To the far right is the single rectangular block of the convent.
This church itself has thirteen bays. The first two comprise an entrance foyer, with diagonal side walls forming three sides of the octagon with the narrow entrance façade. Then comes the nave, with four bays. A domed transept follows, of three bays (the same width as the nave with its side aisles) and finally the sanctuary of four bays. The last three bays of the latter have sloping side walls joining onto the narrow far wall behind the altar.
The nave side aisles are each a third of the width of the central nave, and begin halfway along the diagonal side walls of the entrance foyer. The side walls each have seven narrow vertical strip windows, and a window strip under the roofline.
The fabric comprises a reinforced concrete frame supporting a roof in the same material, and infill walls in pink brick. The brickwork is undecorated. Despite being structurally in concrete, the roof is tiled. The nave roof has a double pitch which is quite steep, and is separated from the single pitches of the side aisle roofs only by a narrow strip of window on each side. These side aisle roofs run on over the ends of the transept and the end corners of the sanctuary. The main sanctuary roof is lower than the central nave one, with window strips as well.
The crossing of the transept is occupied by a square dome, with four lozenge-shaped tiled pitches. This has window strips between it and the central nave roof, and a large triangular window with stained glass in each side.
There is a separate tower campanile on the far left hand side, a tall rectangular structure in white concrete. Its larger face furthest from the church is separated slightly from the rest, the gaps on each shorter side being bridged by pairs of short horizontal beams. The main part of the tower protrudes above this face as the bell-chamber.
The narrow façade is approached by steps leading to a patio in the shape of half a hexagon. The single entrance portal occupies the entire width, and is topped by a deep concrete lintel with a short dedicatory inscription. This lintel is extended as the roofline beam of a set of ancillary accommodation to the left, which itself joins onto the former baptistery.
Above the entrance, the blank brick wall has a large window in the shape of a Latin cross. There is a second window tucked into the gable at the top.
Layout and fabric Edit
The interior has a central nave with side aisles, separated by thin square reinforced concrete piers which support the roof. There are five of these on each side. The white roof is in concrete, pitched on each side, with the main and aisle pitches separated by strips of window. These strips are themselves separated by concrete support beams in the shape of a right angled triangle, one over each pier.
The interior walls show the same blank pink brickwork as the outside.
The transept has its dome supported by four solid rectangular concrete piers set on the diagonals, and a further two such piers flank the altar and support the sanctuary roof.
In 1993 the entrance lobby was re-fitted as confessionals and a side chapel dedicated to Our Lady and All Saints. A pair of holy water stoups in copper was provided. The screen wall separating this space from the main body of the church has a pair of large rectangular panels in terracotta (?), each having a swirling motif around a circular central aperture. The gate in between these is in curved iron barwork representing the Greek letter tau.
There are eight large paintings by Benedetto de Santis on the side aisle walls, of New Testament events: The Calming of the Storm, The Sower, The Calling of the Apostles, The Nativity, The Garden of Gethsemane, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection and The Supper at Emmaus.
The same artist also designed the two flanking windows in the transept dome. There are four scenes: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Magi and The Assumption.
The sanctuary was re-fitted in 1980, with bronze pieces by Giorgio Fiordelli.
The central window, designed by Laura Giuliana Redini and installed in 1972, shows the Madonna, Queen of Creation and Child being venerated by the prophet Elijah and Bl Simon Stock. The former is venerated by the Carmelites as their spiritual founder, and the latter was an early superior of the Order who died in 1265 (and who is often referred to as a saint, although the Roman Martyrology only lists him as a beatus).
The church is open 8:00 to 11:00 and 18:00 to 20:00 daily, according to the parish website.
However, on Wednesdays the afternoon opening is 17:00 to 22:00 (not in summer).
Mass is celebrated, according to the parish website:
Weekdays 8:30, 19:00;
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 11:00 and 19:00 (20:00 Wednesdays).
Lauds is celebrated daily at 8:00, and the Rosary recited at 18:30.