Bl. Rolando Rivi
The young seminarian martyr.
After reading about the young saint, I suddenly was granted a deeper appreciation of the traditional garb of priests, the cassock and saturno.. In 1944 after the German invasion of Italy and seminaries were closed, the young seminarian Rolando Maria Rivi returned home, yet continued to wear his cassock, insisting "I am studying to be a priest and the cassock is the sign that I belong to Jesus.” Despite anticlerical sentiment in his area, Rolando wore the outward sign that he was still a seminarian and candidate for the priesthood. [Bl. Rolando's example reminded me of another young martyr, Bl. Isidore Bakanja, the Africa Scapular martyr - when his persecutors ordered him to remove his scapular, Isidore refused and was severely flogged.] Anyway - now I have a deeper respect for priests and seminarians who choose to wear the cassock. It is a wonderful witness. (My sincere apologies to Fr. Longenecker too.)
The martyrdom of Blessed Rolando.
On April 10, 1945, Rolando was taken by a group of Communist insurgents, who forced him to go with them into the woods.
Friday, April 13, 1945, after three days of torture and humiliation, the insurgents brought him to a forest in the village of Piane di Monchio, where there was already a grave dug. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon. They hurled him to the ground and then forced him to kneel on the edge of the grave. Before they killed him, Rolando asked for – and was granted – a moment to pray for his parents. Even then, he reaffirmed his belonging to Christ. The Communist insurgents then murdered him with two shots of the pistol. He was fourteen years old. - Read more here.Blessed Rolando, pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Art: I've been doing some sketches of Bl. Rolando, this is one study in pencil and crayon.