Santa Teresa di Calcutta a Ponte di Nona is a 21st century parish church at with a postal address Via Guido Fiorini 12, in the suburb of Ponte di Nona in the Lunghezza district. This is a developing area being built on the other side of the Strada dei Parchi from the old town of Lunghezza.
The entrance faces onto the Piazza Attlio Muggia.
The dedication is to St Teresa of Calcutta.
The parish is new, having been established in 2005. It worshipped in a prefabricated hut until a permanent church was completed in 2016. The architect was Marco Petreschi.
The speed with which this new parish obtained its permanent church has been remarked upon, especially since there are longer-established parishes still waiting for a church (for example, see Sant’Anselmo alla Cecchignola).
The first point of issue is the status of the neighbourhood. This is not an unplanned illegal development of the mid 20th century, nor a planned public housing project for lower-class people, but a planned neighbourhood for relatively wealthy persons. However, the administration of the infrastructure has been neglected and serious social problems have emerged. An accusation of favouritism in providing the church so quickly can be countered by pointing out that the neighbourhood has been lacking a social focus (it is a separate and very interesting question as to why this has to be a church in the context of secular Italian society).
The second point is the status of the patron saint. There was a very unusually short period between her death in 1997 and 2016, and her witness in the contemporary world is very highly valued by the Roman Catholic Church. Hence, the church was perhaps primarily built for the saint rather than for the parish.
The church is already being referred to as the Church of the Year of Mercy.
The church has a square plan, and is accompanied by a long ancillary wing running longitudinally to the left. The latter has two conjoined units, a near one mainly containing a large aula or meeting-hall, and the far one being two-storey with parish offices and other facilities.
The little prefabricated hut that used to be the church is at the far end of the latter, unless it has been demolished in the meantime.
The fabric is in reinforced concrete, completely revetted in slabs of fine travertine limestone from Tivoli.
The edifice is shaped like a truncated wedge lying on one of its broad faces. The frontage is low and the back wall behind the altar is high, and the roof has a single steepish pitch running from the former to the latter.
The side walls have matching fenestration, designed as a unit. The windows are within a very large recessed panel, of the same shape as the side of the church but smaller. There are four sets of windows in each panel, all the windows (except at a side entrance) occupying the whole height of the panel. The middle two sets each consist of a wider vertical strip flanked by two narrow slits, but the outer two sets consist of only two windows, a wider one nearest the side edge of the panel and a narrower one flanking it. Between the window strips in each set the wall is flush with the church wall surrounding the panel.
The back wall is a perfect horizontal rectangle. It contains a central sanctuary apse in the form of a segment of a cylinder, occupying a huge vertical central rectangular cavity and having a thin window strip down each side. The apse does not protrude. It is flanked by, firstly, two thin vertical rectangular recessed panels and then two wider vertical rectangular window-strips with the fenestration inserted diagonally facing the side walls. Finally comes two sets of overall rectangular fenestrations, each involving three columns of six small rectangular windows. The windows in the central column are wider.
The roof, which is also revetted in travertine, has its central zone substantially depressed in a large rectangle. This is surrounded by elevated strips of equal width on three sides -not the front, though.
The low wall of the façade is fronted at its mid-zone by a shallow transverse rectangular entrance kiosk, of the same height as the frontage and with a blank front wall. It contains three entrance doors with prominent lintels, the central one being enormous.
The right hand side wall of the church is continued to the right to form a partly enclosed entrance piazza. The top of this wall has the same slope as the side wall roofline, and within the wall is a little ancillary chamber.
The corresponding location on the left hand side of the façade has the campanile, which provides the major civic profile of the church. It is entirely in smooth travertine slabs.
Two concrete beams slope down at the same angle as the church side wall, one from the top corner of the wall and one to its right. This two beams approach each other, and in front are supported by three concrete piers each of decreasing height. Behind these sets of piers are three huge transverse travertine slabs of ascending height front to back, the lowest being 10 metres high and the highest, 24.5 metres. These slabs are joined by inserted horizontal floor panels, two between the front and middle slabs and five between middle and back.
The front panel is blank travertine. The middle and back panels have matching huge rectangular cut-outs near the top of the former, each of these divided by two thin bars also in travertine. This zone is the actual bell-chamber. Above it, the towering back slab has a cut-out in the form of a thin cross. This is not central, but is over to the right.
Layout and fabric Edit
The interior is actually traditionally basilical, featuring a central nave with side aisles. The aisles are separated by three pairs of concrete columns.
The left hand aisle is the ferial chapel. Behind this is a short passage leading to a side exit to the parish offices, and in the far left hand corner is a sacristy. Over the sacristy is a choir gallery, having a solid curving frontage with a rail supported by pairs of little struts.
The interior is all in white, except for the floor which is in pale brown with darker brown grid stripes. The windows are in clear glass.
Marko Rupnik the mosaicist and Vito La Rocca the sculptor have been commissioned for embellishments.
At present, the segmental sanctuary apse is in blank white, except for a traditional hanging crucifix. Below is a central seat for the presiding priest, flanked by two curved benches for the liturgical ministers. Both are in white.
The sanctuary has a semi-circular raised platform in brown marble with three steps, and contains a cuboidal altar in white marble with a horizontal band of gold mosaic. This comprises rows of different-sized squares in different shades of gold
To the left is the pulpit or ambo, in white with a curved wrap-around screen protecting the access stairs. It has a vertical mosaic panel on its front. Behind is the white paschal candlestick, with a spiral mosaic strip in gold running up it.
To the right of the sanctuary is the tabernacle, which has a tall free-standing screen behind it, being slightly incurved and having two huge vertical rectangular windows (not facing onto the outside). The tabernacle is a vertical cuboidal pillar with gold and white mosaic decoration
The font is a white hemispherical bowl on a truncated cone plinth, surrounded by a gilded mosaic showing blue and white fishes. There is also a polychrome mosaic panel in the bowl, triangular and of an abstract design.
Mass is celebrated (parish website, July 2018):
Sundays and Solemnities 9:00, 10:00, 11:30 (not summer), 18:30.
On weekdays there is Rosary at 18:00 (before the Mass), and on Sundays and Solemnities the Divine Office of Vespers is at the same time.