SAN GIOVANNI BOSCO – Salesians in the land of movies

– Anastasios

If you like movies, and we all like it in one way or another, you will be certainly familiar with Hollywood, if we talk about the United States, and with Cinecittà, if we talk about Italy (and Europe). Cinecittà studios are home to some of the major movies in the past and also in the present, movies like Amarcord (1973), Quo Vadis (1951), Ben Hur (1959), Cleopatra (1963), The English Patient (1996) and many others. But the studios lent their name also to their surroundings. This is why we have an urban area in Rome that we call Cinecittà.

The Parish of San Giovanni Bosco is situated here. It was built in the 1950s by Gaetano Rapisardi (1893-1988), commissioned by the Salesians. Giovanni Duranti (treccani.it) describes it this way: “In 1952 he won the competition for the construction of the large church of San Giovanni Bosco, inside the populous Tuscolano district in Rome. Transfiguring the image of the highest ecclesia of Christianity into abstract forms, suspended in a timeless dimension, he conceived a tripartite architectural organism: a gigantic base block to support a high tympanum beyond which the dome with its lantern stood out. Inside, he developed an absolutely new structural and figurative solution.”

The church was formally inaugurated in 1959, and was declared a minor Basilica by Pope Paul VI in 1965. There are several works of modern religious art inside of the church, like the Via Crucis by Venanzo Crocetti (1913-2003). Remarkable also is the Tamburini pipe organ, in the tradition of Salesian churches that gives great importance to music in their apostolate.

A book written by Don Carlo Nanni SDB, called The Educational Preventive System of Don Bosco Today,  deals with the importance of the education of youth for the Salesians. Here is a short excerpt: “Education is not only a matter of instruction and the acquisition of skills. We must be concerned with the formation of intelligence, of freedom, of the capacity to love and to do good to others. The book, by Salesian Father Carlo Nanni, SDB offers an outline of the origin and development of Don Bosco’s educational preventive system and how it is applied in our society to meet the needs of young people facing contemporary issues. St John Bosco is among those saints who, in the history of the Church, were totally committed to education as their mission, in order to form “good Christians and honest citizens.” In the mind of Don Bosco this is intended to meet the needs of young people in their search for meaning and happiness.  In this book, Professor Carlo Nanni SDB, renowned educational philosopher and former Rector of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, presents the educational system of Don Bosco in the conviction that it still has great influence in educating young people to the good life as shown in the Gospel” (infoans.org).

Looking at the website of this Parish, we can see the strong emphasis of the Salesian Fathers on youth education and in maintaining a strong link with parishioners, even in difficult times as the one we are living now, when there is a pandemic affecting the world  influencing the religious life of countless people. (Photo: InfoANS)

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