Santa Maria Stella dell’Evangelizzazione is a 21st century parish church at Via Amsterdam 5 in the Città d’Europa, which is a new part of Torrino just south-west of the EUR and off the Via del Mare.
The dedication is to the Blessed Virgin Mary, under a new title of hers which is "Our Lady, Star of Evangelization".
The parish was founded in 1989, and spent its first seventeen years in an utterly inadequate little prefabricated hut.
The permanent church was designed by Roberto Panella and completed in 2006, His collaborators were Alberto Costantini and Massimiliano Ciotti.
Layout and fabric
The very unusual plan has no axes of symmetry. It approximates to a longitudinal ellipse rotated on the plan slightly anticlockwise from the major axis, and then truncated at both ends by straight lines perpendicular to the major axis. An asymmetrically curved apse is attached to the back. Look at Google Earth for an elucidation.
The design begins with two curved screen walls in light grey concrete, which define the sides of the ellipse. The left hand one has a very large fenestration in the form of a cross, consisting of two intersecting window slits. Then a third screen wall is added at the back to form the apse. There is a small gap between the right hand end of this and the far end of the right hand side wall, and a much larger gap between the left hand end and the far end of the left hand side wall.
A massive white concrete slab beam runs just to the right of the near end of the left hand wall to the left hand end of the apse, dividing the roof into two zones. The near end of this beam protrudes beyond the side wall, and is clasped by two monumental vertical concrete slabs in a cream colour, in longitudinal echelon with the right hand slab slightly in front and slightly higher. A vertical window strip occupies the narrow space between the left hand slab and the left hand side wall. The slab itself is pierced by a long window strip with an asymmetrically curved top.
The left hand zone of the roof, roughly in the shape of a thin triangle, is flat but the main zone, to the right, has a sweeping transverse curve and a gentle longitudinal one. This was likened by the architect to a billowing sail.
The church is accompanied by sports and social facilities, housed in flat-roofed units. The main edifice of these is a long wing which runs from behind the apse diagonally to the right.
The ferial or weekend chapel is a trapezoidal flat-roofed structure attached to the right side of the church.
The spectacular façade is created by having the curved main roof brought forward, and then taken to the ground in a continuation of its curve in front of the right hand side wall. The overall curve is occupied by a single light grey concrete slab-beam, supported by a third cream-coloured slab pier to the right and growing deeper as it reaches the ground. The space between this third pier and the right hand end of the curve is occupied by a side entrance in a grey concrete wall.
Into the space sheltered by the near end of the roof and bounded by the right hand slab pier is inserted a massive cuboidal pylon in cream-coloured concrete with a square portal. Protruding from the portal is a cubical porch in white concrete, with its own front face mostly taken up by the actual entrance. An L-shaped window strip occupies the top and left hand side of this porch, and the pylon's face is recessed in a strip above this and to the left all the way to the twinned slab-piers. The porch's fascia has a dedicatory epigraph.
The entrance is occupied by a wooden grid of squares, most of which contain orange panels. However, a group of them in the centre in the form of a cross have clear glass instead, which looks spectacular when back-lit at night.
The curve of the roof above the pylon is occupied by a large window.
The frontage of the ferial chapel, to the right and rather concealed by the sweeping down of the roof, has a row of three vertical rectangular windows, set in matching vertical slots which run from ground to roofline.
The campanile is a separate and prominent tower, shaped like a prism on a right-angled triangular plan and attached to the main ancillary range to the right of the church (behind the ferial chapel).
The tower is formed of two huge concrete slabs flanking the right angle of the triangle. These each have a vertical row of vertical slit windows flanking the right angle and a large rectangular sound-hole at the top, but are otherwise featureless.
The near angles of the prism are chamfered, and contain continuous vertical window strips. The hypotenuse wall is recessed, and is split from top to bottom by a fairly wide open strip. In front of the centre of this stands a protruding thin slab pier, which forms the vertical element of a cross. The horizontal element of the cross is provided by a beam above the top of the central void, and above this is a horizontal rectangular sound-hole divided in two by the top of the cross. The cap of the tower is a flat triangle, sloping down from back to front.
The interior has a main nave with a left hand side aisle. It is mostly in white, with the side walls in large square tiles. The ferial chapel is beyond a glass screen to the right.
The main roof has steam-bent knotty pine rafters following the curve, and infilled with planking. The wood is varnished.
There is stained glass in the windows under the roofline over the altar, and on the left of the central nave over the aisle. The glass is predominantly blue, with some yellow, in abstract designs. The rest of the glass is clear.
The sanctuary is on a platform of three steps, the front being in the form of an irregular polygon and the back fitting into the apse. The latter contains the seating of the liturgical ministers, and is in pure white except for a rather small hanging crucifix.
Mass is celebrated (parish website, July 2018):
Weekdays 18:30 (summer 18:00, except Saturdays 19:30);
Sundays and Solemnities 10:00, 11:30 (not summer), 18:30 (summer 19:30).
The Divine Office is celebrated publicly Monday to Friday, with Lauds at 9:00 and Vespers at 19:00.
There is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 9:00 to 18:30, Monday to Friday (except on Solemnities), beginning with Lauds immediately after the Exposition.
The Rosary is recited daily from 18:00 until Mass.
The parish operates an external Mass centre at Trasfigurazione di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo al Euroma2.