The idea and project to build a Church in Antarctica did start in the year 2003 after having seen that just few Bases down there have their own Church for personnel and researchers. Some of them are: US Mc Murdo Base, Chilean P.te Frei Base, Russian Bellinghausen base, Bulgarian St. Klimend Ohridski Base. and sone Argentine’s Stations. Italian Base Mario Zucchelli Station which guests about 120-160 people does not have a site to feed spiritual needs of its personnel.
I did start to involve authorities, politics, media (newspapers and TV) and of course the PNRA (National Antarctic Research Program, which is the authority that holds responsibility and jurisdiction of the Italian installations and research programs in Antarctica), to sensitize the pubblic opinion and the institutions about this matter.
Bureaucracy is a huge problem, particularly in Italy and of course, we are still working in trying to convince PNRA to give the authorization. Also we did involve the Vatican through the official channels such as The Secretary of State Vatican and CEI Italian Episcopal Conference .
After a national TV interview, we have been called by Italian Companies who have offered to build and donate the Churc:: Saint Gobain and Bertero Technology located in the city of Cuneo in the North west part of Italy have developped bio materials for building industry and both Companies did offer to join together in building and pack the Church in a container ready to be shipped to Terra Nova bay in Antarctica where the Italian base is located.
Unfortunately every thing was jusr a great purpose …permission is not been given, but we are still fighting to make the dream a reality
As the readers know, WAP is trying since 2003 to get the permission to donate and build a little Church in Antarctica at the Italian base MZS.
It’s a spiritual need for the personnel at the Base, but also a tuch of glory and devotion to Lord.
The story of the Italian Base in Antartica his well recalled by Prof. Luciano Blasi (Amateur Radio operator IØJBL) one of the first Italians in Antarctica following of Italian scientific Missions since 1986.
Luciano did tell me that at Terra Nova Bay, there is a “Madonnina” inserted in the cliff, a gesture of faith and celestial respect, that it deserves of being known.
Luciano did say to me that:
…… the Alpines, when the head of the operations was the former-colonel (now retired General) Mauro Spreafico, did make a small altar under a full of rocks spur where a little statue of the Virgin (Madonnina in Italian language) have been located, so that people from the Base was usual to gather in prayer in front of Her.
Others have told me that the Madonnina is still there and nobody has never touched it.
I knew then, from Mrs. Rita Bartolomei (that was responsible of the communication at Dome C Base, but for years has worked to BTN/MZS) that on Sunday, in the only space of rest, there have been organized groups of prayer where, who wanted, could join and do it.
I did catch up Rita Bartolomei via email in December 2004,and she had written to me that as far as the Madonnina inserted in the cliff to BTN/MZS concern, she can confirms that it is still there.
The Lieut. Col. Angelo Romito Meteorologist from the IAF, just returned from XXII the Italian Expedition to Terra Nova Bay-MZS, did send me a photograph of that full of rocks spur, where the alpines built a niche and its small altar .
They are happy that the Madonnina is
still there, and are sure that in such a cold and dispersed place, She
will pour out moments of serenity to whom, there at the Base, it has
need. In the year 2003 we have begun this sort of campaign to sensitize
the people about to our idea to construct a church over there in Antarctica.
The way is still long to go because moving bureaucracies is not an easy
way. We are sure that with the aid of the providence we will succeed in
achieving this great dream.
Help us to materialize a dream, that’s what we are looking for.