Chronology of Arenzano

In Arenzano


Foundation of the Arenzano Monastery

The Monastery of Arenzano is founded by one of the fathers of Discalced Carmelites in Genoa, who has been present in Liguria since 1584. After the Napoleonic suppressions those of the Italian state, the monasteries  were opened, also some new foundations were born. Thus, in 1888 it was decided to open a house for the education of young people and for the implementation of the work he was commissioned with Fr. Leopold  M. of St. Joseph (Beccaro). In the town of Arenzano, he identified the ideal place for the foundation, which was undertaken on 5th August 1889 and dedicated to St. Therese of Jesus.

5th August 1889


Enthronement of the Infant Jesus in Prague in the Carmelite Church of  the Corpus Domini  in  Milan.

15th December 1895

Consecration of the image of Infant Jesus in the church of the Monastery of Arenzano

In this new foundation, in 1900 the Prior – Fr. John Rosso, wanted to introduce the devotion to the Little King, hanging in the church of the monastery a framed print of the Holy Infant Jesus.

He certainly did not foresee the consequences of this apparently insignificant act. In fact, the faithful began to flow ever more and more to honor the Infant Jesus, who did not leave unheard the prayers of His devotees.

25th September 1900

Gift and placement of the statue of the Infant Jesus at the Altar of the Virgin of the Carmel

Later, Fr. John received a gift from the Marquis Delfina Gavotti of Savona, a beautiful statue of the Infant Jesus, resembling the original statue of Prague. About 52 cm in height, covered with red velvet, decorated with gold embroidery, which he placed at the feet of the Virgin of Carmel. This statue is currently kept in the inside of the monastery of Arenzano.

2nd June 1902

Chapter of the community of Arenzano, for the construction of a new church

The Fathers of Arenzano, in seeing the growing influx of people and the inadequacy of their chapel, they began to think about the construction of the new church.

23rd Oct. 1903

Laying the foundation stone of the new church of Arenzano and setting up the “Confraternity of the Infant Jesus of Prague” was established, later called “The Pious Union of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague”, which now has more than three million aggregates. The following year the first issue was published the magazine “Il Messaggero di Gesù Bambino” (The Messenger of Infant Jesus). A periodical with which he wanted to make universal knowledge of the devotion to the Little King.

16th Oct.1904

“Il Messaggero di Gesù Bambino” (The Messenger of Infant Jesus)

Published the first magazine of the Shrine “Il Messaggero di Gesù Bambino” (The Messenger of Infant Jesus).


Inauguration of the new church

It took four years to complete the construction of the church, the first Shrine dedicated to the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, which was inaugurated on 6th September 1908. With the offerings of many devotees, who had received special thanks, the majestic throne could also be built placed above the high altar, and placed the statue of Infant Jesus. Really the welcome of the new devotion, the graces granted, and the gratitude of the faithful went beyond any expectation.

6th Sept.1908

Enthronement of the Infant Jesus

Ceremony of Enthronement of the statue of the Infant Jesus in the majestic throne above the altar.

6th Sept.1909

Solemn coronation of the statue

In 1924, the solemn coronation of the Infant Jesus was celebrated with the blessing of Pope Pius XI. Thus was read in “Il Messaggero di Gesù Bambino” (The Messenger of Infant Jesus) announcing the solemn event of the coronation of the Infant Jesus on 7th Sept. 1924.For the occasion, Pope Pius XI (who later established the solemnity of Christ the King) had decreed: “That the simulacrum of the Holy Infant Jesus under the title of Prague comes, in our name crowned with a golden crown. The solemn office of the coronation will be celebrated by Rev. Emperor Raffaele Card Merry of Val, Archbishop of the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica. Solemnity, preceded by a novena and a prayer vigil, was a great manifestation of love and glory to the Holy Infant Jesus.

7th Sept. 1924

Construction of the facade of the Shrine

It took two years for the construction of the facade of the Shrine.


Conferment to the Shrine of the title of Basilica Minor

In 1928, the Shrine was awarded the title of Basilica Minor, and in 1929 the marble facade was completed, Castellucci of Florence. In memory of the solemn coronation of 1924, a marble column surmounted by a golden bronze statue was erected on the square of the Shrine in 1937, engraved with the dedication: “Christo Jesu Infanti – Regi saeculorum immortali honor et gloria” (Honor and Glory to Jesus Christ, to the immortal King of the ages). In the same year was also the third centenary of the refunded of the statue of the Holy Infant Jesus by Fr. Cyril of the Mother of God, and of the divine promise: “The more you will adore me, the more I will favor you”.

6th May 1928

The commemorative column

Erection of the commemorative column of coronation and celebrations for the 3rd centenary of the promise made to the venerable Fr. Cyril.

5th Sept. 1937

Protection of the Infant Jesus on the City of Arenzano during the II World War

In 1940-1944 Arenzano suffered two different bombings for which he always thanked the Infant Jesus for His protection. In the chapel of blessing is the ex-vote offered after the first of these bombings. In 1944 a small altar was also dedicated to Infant Jesus in the hinterland of Arenzano, near an anti-aircraft shelter; the altar served to the faithful who, during the bombing, could not go to church.


Opening of the Seminary of the Infant Jesus

The Provincial Superior, Fr. Anastasio Ballestrero, opened the Minor Seminary in 1940, a clear source of Carmelite vocations, greeted with generosity since 1952 by the Sisters of the Carmelite Teresian Union (UCT), a secular institute who lives the spirituality of Carmel in the midst of the world, with a strong focus on the priests.


Works of enlargement of the Basilica

In recent year the Shrine was expanded and two large transepts, the new bell tower and the new organ were made; the interior was also embellished with the tiles of Biancini Angelo (1911-1988) and was set up by the ceramist Eliseo Salino (1919-1999) an artistic permanent crib, in memory of the Bethlehem event.



Inauguration of the extensions by Cardinal Joseph Beran.

4th September 1966

First edition of the design competition “Small Artists of Christmas”

In 1966, he started the Drawing Competition “Small Artists of Christmas” with the purpose of involving and raising the children to the mystery of the Infant Jesus and to encourage the vocations at the Seminary.

25th December 1966

Cardinal Joseph Siri

Reconsecration of the shrine by Cardinal Joseph Siri.

31st August 1968

50th Anniversary of the Coronation of the Statue

Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the coronation of the statue.

1st Sept.1974


Restoration of the presbytery according to the liturgical norms of II Vatican Council.


Holy Year

Establishment of the Shrine at a Jubilee Church.

2nd January 2000- Jan.6th 2001

Consecration of Arenzano to Infant Jesus and erection of the commemorative column on the city pier; positioning of the image of Infant Jesus on the Haven shipwreck on the 10th anniversary of the sinking.

In the evening of the 1st September 2001 the town of Arenzano was solemnly consecrated to Infant Jesus during the traditional procession in the presence of Cardinal Archbishop of Genoa, Bishop of Nazareth, Provincial of Carmelite, Military and Political Authorities and Dr. Peta Burgr (delegate of the Mayor of Prague). It was passed first to the parish and then to the Municipal Palace, in the Council of State, where the protocol was signed, which officially ratified the consecration. Then it

continued for the pier of Arenzano, where Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, with the Bishop of Nazareth and the city authorities opened the votive column. In this circumstance, Infant Jesus was also honored with a statue posed by the divers on the Haven tanker (sunk off Arenzano in 1991), in gratitude for the disasters that were really limited.

1st Sept.2001

Passion of Chapel

Inauguration of the Passion of Chapel.

15th March 2008

Centenary of the first consecration of the Shrine and dedication of the altar by Card. Angelo Bagnasco

The Shrine celebrated its first centenary years with an articulated spiritual program in 2008. On 15th March, the chapel of passion was inaugurated. In the same year, he was invited again the Bishop of Nazareth Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, who brought with him several stones from Bethlehem and Nazareth to be inserted in the altar, as a spiritual bond between the Shrine and those holy places, which saw the Incarnation and the Birth of Jesus. Finally, Cardinal Angel Bagnasco dedicated the new altar on 7th Sept.2008.

7th Sept. 2008

Arrival of the Sisters of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel

Thanks to the fact that, Fr. Leopoldo Beccaro is at the same, time the founder of the Monastery of Arenzano and co-founder of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel (CMC), as well as for the twenty-year collaboration in action in the Mission in Central Africa, in 2010 by the Kerala some sisters of this congregation, have come to serve alongside the fathers in the care of the Shrine of service to pilgrims.


Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Establishment of the Shrine as a Jubilee church for some periods of the extraordinary Year of Mercy.


Restoration and 50th anniversary “Small Artists of Christmas”

Restoration of the organ and cleaning or restoration work on various works; 50th anniversary of the inauguration of the enlargement works of the Basilica and of the design competition “Small Artists of Christmas”.


The Spiritual Message »