Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio

Rome, Italy

Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio

Sacro Cuore di Gesù al Castro Pretorio (English: Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Praetorian Barracks) is a Roman Catholic parish and titular church in Rome, Italy.

The church was originally projected by Pope Pius IX, the land being bought by him along the then Via di Porta San Lorenzo, now Via Marsala. His intention was to dedicate the church to St Joseph, who he had declared 'Patron of the Universal Church' on 8 December 1870. In 1871, however he decided to dedicate the church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Work on the construction was begun, however, only under Pope Leo XIII, who named as architect Francesco Vespignani. Conte Francesco Vespignani (1842-1899), the Architetto dei Sacri Palazzi of Leo XIII, who also built the College of S. Anselmo on the Aventine Hill. However, the work came to a halt for lack of funds. At this point, the pope entrusted the work to Don Bosco St John Bosco. With the pope's permission, Don Bosco bought an additional 5,500 sq.m. of land to construct a boarding school for poor boys, and also a two floor building at the corner of via di Porta San Lorenzo (now via Marsala) and via Marghera that would serve as a residence for his Salesians. It was Don Bosco who managed to collect the funds necessary for the construction of the church, by appealing to the Catholic world and by making personal journeys to France and to Spain, despite failing health. The church was consecrated on 14 May 1887.

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