The Madonnina of Monte Mario turns 78
The Feast of the Madonnina of Monte Mario will be held on Saturday 4 June 2022, at 6.30 pm, at the Don Orione Center in via della Camilluccia 112 in Rome. The statue much loved by the Romans turns 78: it is 9 meters high and rests on a pedestal 18 meters high. It is certainly one of the symbols of Rome’s recent history.
It was placed on the hill of Monte Mario as a fulfillment of a popular vote during the Second World War, promoted by the Orionini and encouraged by Pius XII, for which over a million signatures were collected. The liberation of Rome took place on 4 June 1944 when, to everyone’s amazement, the German army left the capital while the Allied army entered the city, avoiding carpet bombing in the capital.
The golden statue of the Madonna “Salus Populi Romani” was placed on the hill of Monte Mario in 1953 and is the work of the Jewish sculptor Arrigo Minerbi, protected and saved by the Orionine community of the Appio district.
The celebrations include a short procession to the Piazzale della Madonnina. The Mass, celebrated in the suggestive green setting of Piazzale della Madonnina, will be presided over by Mons. Vittorio Viola, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Worship and the Sacraments. At the end there will be the deed of entrustment and the floral tribute to the Madonna: a large crown of flowers will be brought to the 18-metre high tower at the foot of the golden Madonnina of Monte Mario. The party will continue with the opportunity to enjoy homemade gastronomy, music and the scenery of Rome from above.
“The Madonna was promised a work of worship and a work of charity”, specifies the parish priest Don Flavio Peloso. “For this reason, already during the war the Congregation accepted to take care of orphans and maimed children in the two large buildings in Via della Camilluccia, which housed activities for the Gioventù Italiana del Littorio. As soon as possible, on 6 April 1953, he raised the grandiose statue of the Madonna”.
It has become a tradition dear to the Romans to celebrate and thank the Madonnina every year, the anniversary of the liberation of the City which took place in 1944. Pope Benedict XVI himself, visiting the Madonnina on 24 June 2010, underlined how “the Madonnina – as the Romans like to call her – in gesture of looking down on the places of family, civil and religious life in Rome, protect families, arouse good intentions, suggest to all desires for heaven”. “Look to heaven, pray, and then courageously carry on and work. Hail Mary and forward!”, exhorted Saint Luigi Orione.