San Michele Arcangelo a Pietralata was built in 1937–48; its construction was interrupted by the Second World War. It is built in red-orange brick, with the arms of Pope Pius XII displayed on the facade.
When Cardijn was made a cardinal in February 1965, he asked to be given one of the poorest parishes in Rome. This parish was the parish of San Michele Arcangelo at Pietralata.
At the time, Pietralata was indeed a poor working class area. As late as the 1970s, it battled with high levels of poverty and illiteracy with only one primary school in the area and a high drop out rate from schools.
The neighbourhood featured in several books, including Elsa Morante‘s History, Pier Paolo Pasolini‘s Una vita violenta, Alberto Moravia‘s Racconti romani and Albino Bernardini‘s Un anno a Pietralata, which was adapted into a film, Diario di un maestro, by Vittorio De Seta.
Pope John Paul II visited the parish in 1991 and Pope Francis visited it in 2015. At that time, there was a refugee camp just 300 metres from the church, which Pope Francis also visited.
In 1991 it was visited by Pope John Paul II. In 2015, the church was visited by Pope Francis. The visit attracted attention when the Pope also visited a refugee encampment 300 m (330 yd) away from the church.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán became cardinal-protector from 2003–2014).
Currently, Cardinal Michael Czerny, the president of the Dicastery for Integral Human Development has the role.
Pietralata (Rome) (Wikipedia)
San Michele Arcangelo a Pietralata (Wikipedia)