Santa Maria del Soccorso is a 20th century Fascist-era parish church with a postal address at Via del Badile 1, in a suburb named after it in the Collatino. There is a metro station with the same name on the Via Tiburtina. The church's main entrance is on Via Debussy. Pictures of the church at Wikimedia Commons are here.
The church was begun in 1938, and completed in the following year when the parish was set up. It was entrusted to diocesan clergy, but in 1961 was taken over by the Capuchins.
However, declining vocations led the latter to hand over to the Instituto del Prado in 1986 -this is a secular priestly confraternity.
In 2007, new stained glass windows were provided.
Layout and fabric Edit
The plan is basilical, having a central nave with side aisles of seven bays. There is no transept, and the sanctuary is a semi-circular apse slightly narrower than the central nave. The fabric has a reinforced concrete frame, with brick infill -this has allowed the architect to dispense with most of the round-headed apertures usual in the neo-Romanesque style.
The aisle walls and apse are windowless, but each of the first six bays of the central nave has a pair of short vertical rectangular windows in its side walls. The walls themselves are rendered in a pale orange. The main roof is gable-pitched and tiled, the lower apse roof is pitched in four sectors and the side nave roofs have single pitches.
The ancillary accommodation comprise two long wings which abut the church at its seventh nave bay and run backwards parallel to the major axis for some distance. The far ends are on the same longitudinal line, but the right hand wing comes forward to abut the sixth bay on the right hand side. These wings are also rendered in pale orange, and are ugly.
A campanile is perched over the far right hand corner of the nave. It is a simple rectangular metal frame with a gabled metal rain-shelter on top, and is aligned transversely.
The church stands away from the street, and is approached via an odd gateway with a green metal railing gate between two red brick piers supporting a gabled canopy.
The façade is mostly blank wall, in the pinkish-orange render of the rest of the church. The main entrance has a shallow porch in off-white, comprising a round-headed portal with a simple recessed frame in a gabled structure with slightly battered sides. The side aisle entrances are simple rectangular doorways.
Above the porch is a circular brick tondo, containing a copy in majolica tile of the venerated icon of the Madonna del Soccorso. This has Our Lady presenting the Infant Jesus as the Sacred Heart. The copy was commissioned by the parish in thanksgiving for the locality suffering no damage during the Second World War, and was executed by Maria Biegler in 1947.
The church has a central nave with side aisles, and an apse entered through a large triumphal arch which is just a huge round-headed aperture. The openings into the aisles are rectangular, and the square piers between these are adorned by attached square pilasters in pink. which extend from floor to roof and have no decoration. The rest of the wall surfaces are in white.
These pilasters support the roof's triangular trusses. The roof timbers are exposed, as there is no ceiling.
The new stained glass in the windows, commissioned in 2007, feature the Apostles.
The venerated 19th century painting of the Madonna del Soccorso was donated by the Pasquale family which had it in their private chapel since 1870. In 1946 it was enshrined in a polished travertine aedicule by Francesco Fornari. This has a pair of little Doric semi-columns supporting a triangular pediment, and on the frieze is the epigraph Sancta Maria succurre miseris. The icon itself has a green marble frame, which is surrounded by five little panels bearing Marian and Eucharistic symbols -lily, star, rose, ear of grain and bunch of grapes.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 8:00, 17:00 (not in summer);
Saturdays and eves of Solemnities 18:00 (19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9:30 (not summer), 11:00, 18:00 (19:00 in summer).
Summer here is from mid June to mid September.
External Mass centre. Edit
The parish maintains one public Mass centre, at a school run by the Sacramentine di Bergamo at Via Venafro 28. The sisters had a major role in building up the parish in its early days.
The chapel has no architectural identity, and is not formally consecrated.
Mass is at 7:00 on weekdays (only), but not in summer.