San Luigi Grignion de Montfort a Primavalle is a striking later 20th century parish and titular church at Viale dei Monfortani 50 in the north of the suburb of Torrevecchia, which is part of the Primavalle quarter. It is very near the Monte Mario train station, and is next to the railway.
The dedication is to St Louis Mary Griginon de Montfort.
The parish was founded in 1962 and the administration entrusted to the Company of Mary, also known as Monfortani or "Montfort Fathers" after the saint who was their founder. This French missionary congregation has its Roman headquarters at the other Roman church dedicated to the saint, San Luigi Grignion de Montfort dei Monfortani.
The church was designed by Francesco Romanelli, and completed in 1970. It was made titular in 1991, and the only cardinal priest so far has been Serafim Fernandes de Araújo. He died in 2019, leaving the title vacant.
The roof was renewed recently, turning its colour from a light green to a dark grey.
Layout and fabric Edit
The plan of the church is based on an eight-pointed star with the points truncated.
The dominating roof has a complex shape rather like an upturned flower or a lampshade, and the overall form takes some describing. Firstly, the diagonal star-arms have flat eaves.From these rise four chamfered edges of a fairly steep pyramid, the chamfers being in the form of very thin triangles with their bases on the eaves. The faces of the pyramid hence look towards the cardinal directions of the church. From each face a gabled extension runs over the four star-arms in the cardinal directions, each with a downwardly sloping roofline so that the two pitches are trapezoidal in shape over the side arms. For the entrance and altar end arms, however, the pitches run on to a point to provide canopies over the ends of these arms.
The exterior walls are in red brick, and stand on a protruding shelf plinth. They have a row of windows under the overhanging eaves of the roof except behind the altar where there is a large stained glass window. The wall containing this is not brick, but made up of thin vertical concrete pilasters.
The two points of the star to left and right, midway to the altar, are separate side chapels.
There is a tall detached campanile, formed of four thin concrete pillars clustered close together but not touching. They are connected by small horizontal beams, and meet at the top. An exposed metal ladder runs up the middle, and below the bell is a square platform through which the pillars penetrate.
The entrance is in the cut-off point of one of the star-arms, but here the eves of the roof are brought forward in a point over the doorway to create a little canopy. The wall plinth is replaced here by a narrow patio hugging the three sides of the arm, and approached by two steps. The diagonally facing walls have no top windows, but instead a wide, slightly protruding concrete string-course with beaded edges about a quarter of the way up the wall. This design feature is continued onto a pair of thin square brick piers flanking the entrance portal. The zone in between these is completely taken up by the large square portal and a very large stained glass window above it.
The rotational symmetry of the edifice might lead you to expect a radial layout inside, but this is not the case. The orientation is conventional, with the main altar at the far end and the pews facing it. The main space is in the form of a chamfered square, with the diagonal star-arms containing ancillary accommodation and the two side arms containing chapels dedicated to Our Lady and St Joseph.
The diagonal sides each have a pair of low, massive concrete piers and the total of eight of these support the roof. Sturdy horizontal reinforced concrete beams connect the piers either side of the cardinal sides. The piers and beams are in dark grey, but the rest of the décor is in white.
There is a colourful stained glass window assemblage behind the altar, in abstract form and separated by thin concrete pilaster strips.
Mass is celebrated (parish website June 2018, the diocesan web-page has some differences):
Weekdays 7:30, 8:30, 18:30 (19:30 DST);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, 12:15, 19:00.
Changes might occur in July and August.
There is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 17:30 to 18:30 on Thursdays.
Lauds is celebrated at 8:00, except Sundays.
The Solemnity of St Louis-Mary is 28 April.