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by Nicola Parisi

100 years of the brotherhood of
Blessed Sacrament in the parish of San Giuseppe al Trionfale.

Don Aurelio Bacciarini, first parish priest of the parish of San Giuseppe al Trionfale, from the beginning of his ministry in 1912 promoted Catholic associations, which he considered true pillars on which to base the conquest of souls and the spiritual defense of the neighborhood.

Among the various aggregations, the Union of Christian Mothers, founded on 11 May 1912, and the Association of Christian Fathers, established by decree of the cardinal vicar Pietro Respighi on 27 November 1912, had particular prominence. The zealous parish priest did his utmost particular for these two associations, because they constituted a valid tool for attracting the population and safeguarding Christian values ​​within families. In fact, he knew that good fruits could ripen from their apostolate. 

In 1915, upon the death of Don Guanella, Don Aurelio Bacciarini left the parish because he was appointed by the Holy See to lead the Servants of Charity and in 1917 he was elected bishop in the Apostolic Administration of Lugano (Switzerland). His successor Don Luigi Previtali exercised the parish ministry in pastoral continuity with Bacciarini and under his guidance the associations continued to proliferate, bearing abundant fruit. From the Association of Christian Fathers  the Confraternity of the Santissimo arose  Sacrament with decree of the cardinal vicar Basilio Pompilj on 14 April 1923. The association, in accordance with canon 711 of the Code of Canon Law, promulgated in 1917, was aggregated to the mother confraternity in Santa Maria sopra Minerva (ipso jure aggregatam esse primarye Members of the Basilica of S. Mariae supra Minervam erectae, as stated in the erection decree). The purpose of the Confraternity was to promote the cult of the Blessed Sacrament and attendance at Holy Communion, especially among men. Like many other similar brotherhoods, the members wore (and still wear) a white dress, belted with a red cord and with mozzetta of the same color. A metal medallion with the Eucharistic monstrance completes the garb of the brothers. 

From the accounting registers and the minute books of the Council and Assembly meetings it is clear that the Christian Fathers Association continued in the Confraternity. From the Council minutes of 12 October 1938 and from those of the Brotherhood Meeting of 23 October 1938 we read: «November 4th is the feast of our Patron Saint, protector of the Brotherhood, Saint Charles Borromeo, and since this year, by a happy coincidence it is the fourth centenary of the birth of the great saint and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Pious Union of the Christian Fathers, established on 14 April 1923 as the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament, it was decided, in agreement with the parish ecclesiastical authorities, to celebrate the anniversary in the most solemn way possible." 

On the large banner, commissioned by the Council of the Confraternity, Saint Charles Borromeo is depicted adoring the Holy Eucharist together with Saint Bernardino of Siena; it was  blessed by Msgr. Luigi Fogar, on behalf of Cardinal Benedetto Aloisi Masella, archpriest of San Giovanni in Laterano, and solemnly carried in procession on the solemnity of Corpus Domini on 12 June 1941. On the other side of the banner is depicted Saint Joseph, patron saint of the Trionfale basilica, who was invoked as protector of the Association of Christian Fathers. 

Subsequently, the brotherhood flourished greatly, reaching one hundred members, with a separate section at the parish vicar of Valle Aurelia. At the meeting of 27 April 1941, fifteen brothers broke away from the brotherhood (five were members  of the Board of Directors); this nucleus, since it was made up of residents in the nascent parish of Santa Maria delle Grazie, constituted the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament in that nearby parish.

Very active until the 80s, the association experienced a period of stasis due to the social, economic and cultural transformation of the area. In 2013 the parish priest Don Wladimiro Bogoni, encouraged by the initiative of Ermanno Stucchi, appealed to the sensitivity of the fathers of the oratory to give new life to the Confraternity and entrusted its spiritual care to Don Nino Minetti. 

In the last ten years the Confraternity has actively participated in the training and evangelization initiatives promoted by the Vicariate and the parish following the lines of the Pastoral Plan. After having ensured a punctual reception and surveillance service in the basilica throughout the time of the recent pandemic, in the pastoral year 2022/2023 it was able to resume ordinary activities, following the training path on the liturgy of the Mass and on the service at the altar . 

In the "open construction site" that the parish of San Giuseppe al Trionfale wants to become a "welcoming home", the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament participates in the various activities led by the parish priest Don Tommaso Gigliola, in harmony with other lay associations that live in the same ecclesial community . Celebrating its 100 years of life, the Confraternity renews its commitment to promoting the cult of the Holy Eucharist and to bearing witness in the service of charity, eager to strengthen the bonds of mutual collaboration within the parish.    

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