History of the Parish "San Francesco a Ripa"

Establishment of the Parish

    The church of S. Francesco a Ripa was erected as a parish in 1906. St. Pius X, by the Bull "Romanas aequabilius distribute et componere paroecias" of 6 January 1906, called for the abolition of two parishes, the SS. Savior of the Court and S. Bartholomew in Tiber Island, and the erection of three other new, S. Teresa at Porta Salaria, S. Joseph in Nomentana and, indeed, S. Francesco a Ripa. This measure was part of the program of reorganization and redistribution of Roman parishes undertaken by Pius X at the beginning of his glorious pontificate.

    Thus the Parish of St. Francesco a Ripa was born, a Franciscan parish with its centuries of history and Franciscan spirituality, and then with a twist pastoral already clearly outlined, in a neighborhood in continuous population growth following the construction of many new homes along Viale Trastevere and the surrounding area . The only problem was the legal status, and the resulting lack of ownership of  the church, and of the monastery. The boundaries of the new parish and also to appoint its first pastor remained to delineate.

    The boundaries of the parish were decided a few days later, when the Cardinal Vicar Pietro Respighi fixes the territorial constituency comprising: Right bank of the Tiber, Piazza dei Mercanti, Via S. Cecilia, via S. Mary of the Garden, via Anician, via Tobacco, Piazza Mastai, Avenue of the King (today Viale Trastevere), via S. Francesco a Ripa, Via Natale del Grande, via L. Santini, via Tittoni, Via Nicola Fabrizi, Walls of Rome, the Janiculum to the Tiber.

    Defined as the area had about 8600 souls, extended to the Trastevere train station and went for a stretch of the railway Roma-Viterbo.

    Since 1920 the parish begins to lose a little 'territories, stepping back from Trastevere Train Station, also due to the imposition of new parishes, such as St. Mary Queen of Peace and  Patron Saints Francis and Cathrine. At the same time the population Parish increases, up to about 13000 faithful, after the construction of new buildings.

    The appointment of the first parish priest was more complicated allocation of territories, but in the end the choice fell on P. Giuseppe Ercole, estimated by Pope Pius X, his old friend, who wanted him parish priest, despite an initial attempt to escape from the engagement. Designated May 7, 1906, the new parish priest took possession on 30 September, and the religious community consisted of 9 priests and 4 lay brothers.

    First P. Hercules, even before taking possession of the parish, was to deal with the problem of lack of parish offices. For one thing he was able to obtain something from the disposal of the Ministry of War for the construction of the mortuary. He tried to obtain from the Army Corps of Engineers thousand square meters of La Marmora barracks to build a chapel and a sports hall for boys, but a campaign anticlerical press, forgetting  the expropriation of the property that the parish suffered only 40 years before, stopped everything and still today the parish is without a gym or a pitch for the boys.

    In 1959 the parish obtained from Pope John XXIII the Cardinal title. The first holder was His Eminence Cardinal Lauriano Rugambuwa, which has taken over the title 15th May 1960. Since his death, in 2002, to date the holder is Eminence Cardinal Norberto Carrera, Archbishop of Mexico City.

    In 1991, Pope John Paul II visited the Church and the Sanctuary.

    Important figures who served in the Parish:

• P. Felice Magliozzi

• P. Giuseppe Ercole

• P. Luigi Cipriani

• Monsignor Cristoforo Arduino Terzi

• P. Giuseppe Spoletini

P. Giuseppe Ercole

    P. Giuseppe was born in Marino the 22nd February 1869. After various positions in the Reformed Roman Province, was appointed as pastor of St. Francesco a Ripa at age 37. His pastoral zeal has left an indelible footprint in the history of the parish and in the minds of the parishioners. It was estimated in a particular way by S. Pius X and Benedict XIV. All work carried out by P. Joseph was intended to form in the parishioners a sense of belonging to the new reality just born. He concluded his ministry April 10, 1929 for health reasons.


P. Felice Magliozzi

    P. Felice was the second pastor of St. Francesco a Ripa, he was a great preacher and an unsurpassed master of catechesis lowered into social commitment.  

    After the Second World War he worked intensely for children and young people of Trastevere

    P. Magliozzi in 1931 celebrated the 25th  Anniversary of the founding of the parish. In that  occasion, the wooden balustrade of the main altar was removed, and it was replaced by the current made of marble, and the floors were partly renovated.

    You still need to remember an important historical foundation of P. Felice: newly elected pastor gave birth to the Parish Bulletin, the first issue was dated March 1967.

    One last thing to remember is an important work that was not created by him, but strongly encouraged: Franciscan Printing School, directed since 1944 by Br. Francesco Coculo. The school was started in the early forties and went on for more than 30 years. Many boys were prepared and sent to work with great results.

    P. Magliozzi died in 1969, at 83 years old, and his funeral was celebrated at St. Francesco a Ripa 10 November, provoking tears and emotion of many of his faithful parishioners.

P. Celso Luigi Cipriani

    P. Celso Luigi Cipriani was the fourth pastor at St. Francesco a Ripa, from 1st  September 1954 until 1985. The activity of P. Celso was divided in three directions: the care of souls, the social and moral, and literary activity as a writer.

    Regarding the pastoral aspect soon P. Cipriani was highly respected and appreciated by the faithful who felt connected to the parish as one family. Remarkable organization of catechesis, care of the sick and to the refugee camp of former barracks La Marmora, the formation of different groups of lay people involved in various associations of young people and adults, always very active charitable works.

    Among the most important he works on restoration of the Chapel of the Annunciation, Albertoni ‘s Chapel, the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, the side doors of the church entrance with double window.


    On 30 September 1956 he opened the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the parish, with a solemn celebration which was attended also the former parish priests P. Marcelletti and P. Magliozzi.

    Other important historical event experienced by P. Cipriani is the canonization of St. Charles of Sezze, which occurred April 12, 1959 by Pope John XXIII.

    P. Celso died May 27, 1996, while he lived in St. Pietro in Montorio.

Bishop Christopher Arduino Terzi

    Bishop Christopher Arduino Terzi arrived in our monastery in 1945, but the parish priest who knew him best and who had more confidence in him was Fr Celso, who wanted to give his testimony and collect his memories in a book published in 1973 entitled "A conversation with Fra Cristoforo Terzi."

    He was born in September the 29th of 1884 in Capradosso (Rieti. In 1934 he was appointed resident Bishop of Massa and Carrara by Pius XI, but in 1945 he returned to Rome and comes to live in this, as a simple monk, where he remained until his death, which occurred on July 11st of 1971 in St. Maria Forest in Rieti, where he had gone for a few months before the summer break.

    Fra Cristoforo Terzi has written extensively, we want to list some highlights: "The Franciscan sanctuaries in the valley of Rieti," "Memoirs Franciscan in the Rieti valley", "S. Francis of Assisi in Rome "," S. Fabiano Forest listened to the first song of Brother Sun "," The Poor Man of Assisi in the Rieti valley "," The new Church of Assisi, birthplace of St. Francesco "," In the forest of Greccio crib was born on plastic "," Chronology of the Life of St. Francis of Assisi "," A monument to S. Francis of Assisi in Rieti "...

P. Giuseppe Spoletini

    He died in our monastery on Easter Sunday March the 25th of 1951. First buried in the tomb of the friars in Verano Cemetery.  His mortal remains were brought to our church and were buried in the floor of the Chapel of the Annunciation on May 22nd of 1974, in front of a festive crowd of faithful and devoted.

P. Joseph was a Franciscan old-fashioned, from Franciscan origins, a real figure from Little Flowers of St. Francis. It was the Catholic priest exemplary model of holiness for the friars, for the clergy and the faithful, true yoke and true guide to the perfection of evangelical life. His holiness is not made of penance, but of virtue and hard boiled hidden practiced daily in the fulfillment of his office, always sanctifying their day, always in accordance with the will of God.