Friday, April 27, 2012

Church of San Corbiniano

This week I have set off to explore some modern churches in Rome. I was looking for the Church of San Guglielmo designed by Umberto Riva. (I had seen a design for the church in Roma - Nuova Architettura by Sebastiano Brandolini.) By the time the church was consecrated one year ago (March 2011) the name had been changed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Church of San Corbiniano. Corbiniano (670-730) was the saint who founded the Pope's home diocese of Freising.

The church is in a new residential neighborhood of Rome, about 20 km from the Coliseum, off the Via Cristoforo Columbo. The church is a sprawling complex that culminates in the Sanctuary with parish recreational facilities behind it.

The nave of the church is an open, light-filled space, that seems almost "sculpted" in concrete, with glass, steel and wood. It is a very practical, welcoming and comfortable space for community celebrations.
The sloping ceiling is at first sight overpowering, but as you enter, the weight gives way to a sanctuary that is flooded with light from high windows.

The furnishings are minimal. A bronze baptismal font sits appropriately in the front of the church. A contemporary and realistic crucifix dominates the altar area.

On the left side of the nave is a chapel for the  reservation of the Eucharist. (On the day of my visit, several parishioners were praying in adoration.)

I spoke with a newly ordained priest from Trento who is part of the parish staff. (He is actually in exile from the Neocatechumenal Way seminary that was closed by the bishop of Japan. He was ordained here in Rome and hopes one day to be able to return to Japan.) The priest was enthusiastic about the growth of this new parish, incorporating people of all ages. He was proud of their a men's group called the "Bears of San Corbiniano."

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