Santi Marco Evangelista e Pio X is a mid 20th century parish church at Via di Casal Selce 271 in the small suburb of Pantan Monastero in the suburban zone of Casal di Guido. The actual locality is also called Casal Selce.
This church is in the municipality of Rome, but belongs to the diocese of Porto Santa Rufina.
The area was settled by farming immigrants from Treviso beginning with the founding of a co-operative in 1923, owing initially to the initiative of Bl Andrea Giacinto Longhin the bishop. The Fascist government encouraged this as part of an ongoing government initiative to reclaim the derelict countryside of the Roman Campagna.
The original place of worship was a cow-shed next to the school, but the co-operative donated land for a permanent church in 1950. The foundation stone was laid in 1953, and the edifice completed two years later. However, it could only be consecrated in 1958 because of outstanding debts. The project was spearheaded by thirty-five settler families who had migrated from the Veneto, and who did much of the work themselves.
The architect was Agostino Ficini, but the design looks very much like one of Tullio Rossi's simpler efforts.
Messy and unplanned suburban development, a lot of it illegal, began in the Sixties and boosted the size of the parish. However, much of the locality is still rural.
In 1969 the tower campanile, a prominent local landmark, was erected to a design by Agostino Ficini again. In 1987 the roof was renewed In 2013 the area across the road the church was laid out as a public meeting place, the Piazza Gustavo Ceci which is named after a well-loved deceased parish priest.
The parishioners are rightly proud of their church, which is worth visiting.
Layout and fabric Edit
The church is a plain neo-Romanesque building on a rectangular plan, with a single nave having five bays. There are no nave aisles. The sanctuary is of one bay, and has an integral semi-circular apse.
The exterior walls are rendered in a pale orange, with red brick pilasters occupying the corners and dividing the five bays of the nave. There are five nave windows, alternately rectangular and round-headed with three of the latter and two of the former.
The roofs are pitched and tiled, with the sanctuary roof lower and the apse having five triangular sectors.
The main two-storey ancillary block is situated to the top left of the church, with an extension wrapping round the apse. A single-storey wing parallels the church nave to the left, creating an enclosed courtyard. A covered walkway runs along the left hand side wall of the church to the main block, and a perpendicular one along the bottom side of the courtyard to the single-storey wing.
The impressive detached campanile is much more architecturally dignified than the church, and stands to the left of the façade. It is a tower on a square plan, with five storeys below the bell-chamber. The corners are occupied by thin concrete pilasters which provide the frame of the edifice. Each face of the tower has four outer vertical courses of red brick blocks, each course one block wide, and two inner ones in yellow brick. These are laid so as to recess inwards. The central vertical zone of each face is open, apart from the concrete floors of each storey. The bellchamber is pyramidal, with a large gabled sound-hole on each side in the form of a trapezoid. These sound-holes have balustraded balconies, the balustrading being in the form of a repeated cross within a circle.
The church stands away from the street, and the gardening around it is unusually good for a Roman suburban church -note the mature Atlas cedar to the left, which must have been planted when the church was founded and which has done well.
The entrance façade has an external loggia, of dark greenish-grey tufo stone blocks and having three open arches in front with one more on either side. These arches have no imposts. The loggia is slightly wider than the nave behind, and the tiled roof is hipped as well as having an upward slope.
Above the loggia there is a round window with a sunburst fenestration, in a dished brick frame formed by three courses stepping inwards. There is no other decoration, apart from a metal Greek cross in the gable.
Inside the loggia, the frontage of the church has a high dado in the same tufo blocks. Over the door is a tympanum having a charming ceramic depiction of the church fronted by market gardens as it was when it was built (unfortunately things have changed). This is by one Diotavelli, 1978.
The simple interior has a open roof in chestnut, rather roughly carpentered and without ceilings.
The baptistery has a sculpture group depicting a youthful St Mark with his lion, accompanied by SS Peter and Paul. The work is in pressed sawdust, and is by Mario Picchi 1992.
The confessionals have a relief panel of Christ Granting the Keys to St Peter.
The tabernacle has a sanctuary lamp in the form of a metal sculpture of The Prudent Virgin by Nicola Morelli 1978.
The apse has a large mosaic of Christ Pantocrator in a classic Byzantine style, by Ambrogio Zamporro from Montepulciano. This was completed in 1990. The altarpiece is an anonymous 17th century painting of The Immaculate Conception.
The altar is sculpted in allusion to an olive tree, by Gaetano Magliano.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays, on a variable schedule.
Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00, with Communion given after Vespers at 17:00;
Tuesdays and Fridays 17:00;
Fridays at 21:00, with Communion given after Vespers at 17:00;
Saturdays and eves of Solemnities 19:00;
Sundays and Solemnities 7:00, 11:00, 19:00.
There is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays after Vespers and Communion until 21:00, and on First Fridays after the 17:00 Mass until 21:30.
Rosary is recited on weekdays at 16:30.
The Divine Office is recited in this church:
Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, Vespers is at 17:00;
Tuesdays and Fridays, Lauds is at 8:30.
External Mass centres Edit
The parish maintains two external chapels-of-ease:
Cappella delle Suore dei Poveri di Don Vincenzo Morinello, in via Salvatore Cognetti De Martiis 33. This has no separate architectural identity, but is part of an infants' school called Sorriso degli Angeli ("The Smile of the Angels").
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00.