In January 1925 Luigi Corrado Filiani writes a passionate and intense letter to his fellow citizens inviting them to offer money for the construction of the church of Sant’Agnese, future patron saint of the coastal town.
90 years later it is interesting to read that letter again in order to understand the love of Luigi Corrado Filiani for his hometown.
At the beginning of the letter, Filiani sings in poetical lines the origins and the landscape of the future Pineto, ending up this first part with a homage to the emigrants from Abruzzo region.
“At the foot of the majestic hills of Mutignano, in the fertile stretch of land kissed by the Adriatic to the east and watched by the brave summit of the Gran Sasso d’Italia to the west; between the generous green fields and the silver and ancient olive trees, a new life rises. It is Pineto rising, the quiet suburb of Mutignano, with its golden and clean beach, inhabited by many houses out of the blue, and dressed by a long and shady pine grove. It seems that from this corner, so far deserted and dark of the beautiful Abruzzo’s land, a breeze of enthusiasm and steadfast faith in green future destinies blows: and Pineto certainly will be a tranquil and healthy shelter; a blessed and holy shelter for you, brave sons of Abruzzo who, triumphant, knew the harshness of the hard life in a far country.”
Then it follows the reasons why the church has to be dedicated to Saint Agnes and a plea to his fellow citizens for the construction of the church:
“It is the sweetest symbol of faith that I want to uplift to the summit of our love for the humble but beloved homeland. Saint Agnes from Rome, the celestial thirteen-year-old virgin, who underwent pleased and tranquil the supreme martyrdom for the faith of God; the pure and lovely girl who died with a smile for faith and love. A beautiful, devoted small church dedicated to her name, in front of the blue sea, with its bell tower pierced in the infinite sky, hence the bells spread over fields and houses the glory of the holy maid; the everlasting glory of the divine religion of Christ; peace and love for our souls thirsty for them. To you all, beloved fellow citizens, I am not asking for a simple mite, but for the brotherly cooperation that will help, support and encourage me in the accomplishment of my grateful task; and be the supreme pride of everybody to contribute to the maximum splendour of the nice and holy work that will rise up in the upcoming spring in the jubilation of the resurgent Nature.”
In the last part Filiani makes a final plea to himself and the citizens so that the church became a place of union for the whole community:
“Comforted and encouraged by my fellow citizens’ support, I will devote to this idea all my passionate work, all my strengths, all my trustful enthusiasm; and that each of us feel the sweet duty and sacred pride to worthily contribute to this nice and holy work, fruitful and everlasting symbol of faith and brotherhood.”
After funds were raised – a stone inside the church will remind the names of the generous donors to the posterity - and the site area prepared, the construction began solemnly only on the 3rd November 1926 with the first stone laid in the presence of the bishop of Penne and Atri, monsignore Pensa, and the vice-Prefect of the Province of Teramo, Mr. Francesco Foschini.
The church of Sant’Agnese was covered and open to the public for the holy functions in 1935, when it became parish church on request of the people and after a bishop’s decree. The first parson was Romualdo De Ascaniis (Don Paolino).
The dream of Luigi Corrado Filiani came true and Pineto had a church, thanks to his perseverance and citizens’ support.
Translation by Mario Cipollone
• DE LAURENTIIS V., MATTUCCI F., RIPARI L., Pineto una città verde sul mare, 1989