Santa Maria Stella Maris a Castel Palocco is a later 20th century parish church at Viale dei Promontori 113, in the zone of Casal Palocco which is in the northern outskirts of Lido di Ostia.

The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title "Star of the Sea" (appropriate to the location).

History Edit

The parish was set up in 1958. At first, its main church was a redundant Fascist-era college chapel which is now occupied by the newer parish of San Nicola di Bari a Lido di Ostia. However, at Viale dei Promontori 116 was another prefabricated hut called the chiesetta succursale which was a subsidiary Mass centre.

When the permanent church was finally commissioned, it was decided to build it on the subsidiary site. It was designed by Ennio Canino assisted by Vivina Rizzi, and completed in 1977.

The redundant chiesetta succursale was then lent to a worshipping community of Romanian Orthodox, who were still here in 2016. However, in 2012 the Orthodox began an ambitious project to build a splendid new cathedral on a site next to the Via Ostiense in Casal Bernocchi. The community will presumably move there when (or if) this is completed.

Exterior Edit

Layout and fabric Edit

The plan is very unusual, being trefoil. The main body of the church is square, but there are three equal-sized segmental apses attached to the sides and back which are almost, but not quite, the length of the side of the square. The fourth side is entirely occupied by the entrance canopy.

The parish offices and ancillary accommodation is in a three-winged block attached to the back of the church. Beyond this is an open-air chapel, with the seating sheltered by a vine pergola.

The church is a low edifice, in reinforced concrete. The main roof is flat, and in its centre are four triangular skylights outlining a square. The apses have roofs that slope down to the main roof; the sanctuary and left hand apses each have a pair of large rectangular skylights but the right hand apse does not.

Façade Edit

The church stands away from the street, and is approached via an attractive garden path.

The frontage of the church proper has a single entrance, and a deep fascia in white below which is a deep strip of window either side of the entrance. On the fascia is a dedicatory inscription: In honorem beatae Mariae virginis, maris stellae, Paulus IV p[apa] anno Domini MCMLXXVII erexit. The wall below the window strips is in a dark red composition impressed with a grid pattern, rather like a waffle.

Occupying the entire width of the frontage is an enormous flat concrete canopy, again with a deep white fascia. However, this fascia is incurved in a segmental arc. The canopy is supported on a pair of piers in brown with a quatrefoil cross-section, which look like resin around a cylindrical steel core.

Interior Edit

The interior is one large space. The walls revetted in slightly rough white limestone slabs, but the main focus of the interior is the concrete roof. This is divided into deep triangular coffers by intersecting ribs, some of them curved. The exception to the triangles, is the central square surrounded by four skylights, already mentioned above.

The baptismal font is a very attractive piece, being a bowl on a short ribbed Ionic column in white marble. The bowl exterior is covered in a mosaic featuring currents of water with fish.

The free-standing altar has no frontal, but instead a capsule-shaped void with the edges stepping inwards in several steps.

Liturgy Edit

Mass is celebrated (parish website, July 2018):

Weekdays 7:30, 18:00 (combined with Vespers);

Sundays and Solemnities 7:30, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, 18:00.

External links Edit

Official diocesan web-page

Parish website

Info.roma web-page

Beweb web-page

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