Sacra Famiglia di Nazareth a Centocelle is a later 20th century parish church at Piazzale delle Gardenie 45 in the west of the suburb of Centocelle, which is part of the Prenestino-Centocelle quarter. Pictures of the church on Wikimedia Commons are here.

The dedication is to the Holy Family.

History Edit

The parish was established in 1962, and put in the care of the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (hence the dedication).

The church was designed by Mario Fusacchia (his only one in Rome), and was completed in 1972 with the assistance of Giancarlo Cevenini. The liturgical design was unfortunately obsolescent by this date, as a separate baptistery was provided. Nowadays, the preference is to have the font near the high altar.


Layout Edit

The church is part of a compact parochial and convent complex. Starting at the main entrance, you go into a foyer which is part of a three-storey parochial ancillary wing running off to the left and joining onto a six-storey convent block. This wing fronts a square enclosed courtyard or cloister, which has three other wings fronting the other sides. The left hand side wing of this cloister abuts the six-storey block just mentioned, which parallels it.

At the bottom right hand corner of the cloister square is a separate baptistery, on a square plan and with its top right hand corner very near the bottom left hand corner of the church proper. Behind the right hand side of the far wing of the cloister is the ferial chapel, a larger building on a square plan and (again) not abutting the church structurally.

To the right of the main entrance, the ancillary wing mentioned abuts the entrance lobby of the church. The church proper is behind this. In other words, to get to the church from the main entrance you go into the foyer, turn right and then left.

Fabric Edit

The entrance foyers, church, baptistery and ferial chapel are all raised by one storey, leaving underfloor accommodation in the first storey.

The main body of the church is a cuboid, with screen walls in bright red brick set into a concrete box frame. This box frame is raised above floor level, with low walls inserted under the bottom horizontal beams.

There is a pair of very narrow vertical slit windows inserted into each chamfered corner of the box, and midway along each wall. These run from floor level to roofline, and the central ones each divide its wall into two equal squares. The midwal window strips are flanked by frame piers, but the corner ones flank a single corner pier at the back of the chamfer. Another, horizontal strip window is below the bottom beam of the box frame in each side, and finally there is one under each of the roof eaves.

The roof is a low pyramid in a blackish composition, with strongly overhanging concrete eaves..

The ferial chapel is in exactly the same style, except smaller, and the baptistery is a yet smaller version of both (bit without the vertical slit windows).

Façade Edit

The second-storey entrance is offset to the left of the edifice and is flanked by a pair of longitudinal approach ramps, with an enormous 1970’s style thick flat concrete canopy over the door with the shuttering marks showing on its outer faces. This is supported by four square red brick pillars, and bears a dedicatory inscription on its street face: Tempio parrochiale, Sacra Famiglia di Nazareth.

The street frontage looks like that of a small run-down shopping centre defaced by graffiti, and is one of the ugliest of any church in Rome.


However, do not be put off by this because the interior of the church is worth visiting. It forms a single space, with blank walls in white and a gallery running around all four sides. The balcony of this bears a Latin inscription in large white sans-serif lettering on a brown background: Omnipotens aeterne Deus, qui per filium tuum Jesum Christum Mariae et Joseph subditum domesticam vitam ineffabilis virtutibus consecrasti, fac nos eorum auxilio familiae sanctae exemplis instrui et consortium consequi sempiternum. Laudetur sacra familia. This translates: "Almighty eternal God, who consecrated domestic life with unutterable virtues through your son Jesus Christ being subject to Mary and Joseph, by their help make us models of the holy family and sharers in eternal fellowship. May the holy family be praised".

The horizontal and central vertical windows have colourful stained glass of abstract design in a rectangular grid pattern, while the corner windows are shielded by the vertical concrete beams of the box frame and so give diffused light.

The ceiling is a truncated pyramidal cavity, dark grey with a white surround, and from its centre hangs a chandelier formed of woven wire and shaped like an octogram (eight-pointed star) within a circle.

By the entrance is a bronze statue of the founder of the congregation, Bl Joseph Manyanet Vives who was a Catalan priest of the diocese of Urgell. There are other statues of saints around the walls, and in the Blessed Sacrament (ferial) chapel is a bronze relief of the Last Supper by Feppetti.

The bronze Stations of the Cross are worthy of note, as is the tabernacle over the altar designed to symbolize the sun and with its own circular stained-glass window.

Liturgy Edit

According to the Diocese, Mass is celebrated (2017):

Weekdays 8:00, 8:30 (not summer), 18:00 (19:00 in summer);

Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00 (10:30 in summer), 11:30 (not summer), 18:00 (19:00 in summer).

External linksEdit

Official diocesan web-page

Italian Wikipedia page

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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