The Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy as seen in 2010. The Holy See has handed there responsibility of the church above the steps to Emmanuel Community. Photo/Courtesy of 2pi.pl, Wikimedia Commons

Emmanuel Community to run church above Rome's Spanish Steps

By  Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
  • July 25, 2016

VATICAN CITY – An agreement between the Holy See and France handed responsibility for the church that towers above Rome's Spanish Steps to the French-founded Emmanuel Community.

In a series of amendments signed July 25 between the Holy See and France, the Catholic community will run the Trinita dei Monti church and convent starting Sept. 1. The gardens, a school, a pilgrim welcoming centre and all works of art on the property will also come under the community's care.

The new amendments are part of an 1828 accord between the two states. The early 16th-century church had first been run since by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. But when the sisters were no longer able to continue their mission because of a lack of new vocations, a Paris-based monastic fraternity took over running the property and the church's pastoral programs in 2006.

However, the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem, a small coed monastic community whose monks and nuns live and work in the heart of major cities, could no longer take responsibility for running the property for "internal organizational reasons," said Philippe Zeller, the French ambassador to the Vatican.

The Emmanuel Community, the ambassador said in a written address July 25, is an international Catholic community recognized by the Holy See as a public association of the faithful. Founded in France in 1972, the community has almost 10,000 members made up of lay and consecrated men and women as well as priests from about 60 countries.

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