It is with great joy that the Milan faithful attached to traditional Ambrosian rite welcomed the announcement that His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Scola, archbishop of Milan, has given them a new church more suited to the needs of their liturgy and of their community.
It is the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, also known as Santa Maria al Castello and Madonna del Castello (as it is located close to the Sforzesco Castle), which will host the liturgies celebrated in the venerable and ancient rite of St. Ambrose.
This church was built on the esplanade of the castle as its oratory in 1471 by Galeazzo Maria Sforza and dedicated to Our Lady of Consolation by declaration of the Duke of Lombardy. The church was entrusted in 1492 to the Augustinian friars who added a small convent which was probably demolished during expansions of the castle. In 1599 the present church was rebuilt where it stands today.
The interior was decorated by some of the most prominent artists of seventeenth century Lombardy. The coffered ceiling has paintings by Camillo Procaccini (1561 † 1629). The exquisite altarpiece of the main altar of the Virgin of Consolation dates back to 1502. The third chapel on the right contains a valuable painting of Enea Salmeggia (1558 † 1626), the Martyrdom of Saint Andrew the Apostle, painted in 1604. The neoclassical façade was rebuilt in 1836 by Giovan Battista Chiappa.
The church is ideally located in the center of Milan, close to the Milan Cadorna subway station and several bus lines. By contrast, the traditional Milanese community was previously housed in a modern concrete church of little historical or architectural interest, San Rocco al Gentilino which is relatively far from the city center. The Saint Cécile Schola (Parish of Saint-Eugène – Sainte Cécile in Paris) had the honor of singing in this church for Sunday Mass celebrated in the Ambrosian rite by Fr Federico Gallo during his pilgrimage to Milan in 2013.
The traditional Ambrosian office begins at Santa Maria della Consolazione on Sunday, January 11, 2015, the First Sunday after Epiphany. As before, the Mass will be sung every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation at 10am.
Schola Saint Cécile December 29, 2014