Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sixty nine years ago today ...

A young seminarian was martyred.

Blessed Rolando Rivi was shot and laid in a shallow grave by Communist partisans on April 13, 1945, in the Italian Emiliano Mountains.  Bl. Rolando was singled out because he wore his cassock and made it known he intended to be a priest.  According to one of the partisans, killing the boy would eliminate one more priest.

Rolando was only fourteen. His seminary closed when the Nazis came through the region, but the young seminarian continued to wear the cassock as a sign of his consecration and intent to be a priest.  He considered life as a seminarian a form of consecrated life already.  In the region Rolando's family lived, Communist partisans found refuge in the mountains.  They were anti-Catholic and anti-clerical:  “The fascists and Germans are almost extinct… our fight must now be made against the masters, the rich and certain priests… These are now our enemies.”

Blessed Rolando was abducted on April 10 and after beatings, torture and obscene humiliations, he was killed on April 13, 1945 in the forest of Piane di Monchio (Modena).  After praying for his parents, he was shot twice and died.  The partisans covered his body with leaves and twigs and a few shovels of dirt.

He was killed in hatred of the faith, in hatred of the Priesthood, just because he wore a cassock.  He believed the seminarians ought to wear the cassock, even on home visits or on holiday.

He is very close to me these days.  You will see why shortly.

I found a rather good biography of Blessed Rolando at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church blog.  I think Bl. Rolando is not only a special patron of seminarians and priests, but all who suffer bullying and mockery for the faith or just for being a little different.

Thanks be to God, Blessed Rolando has instilled in me a deeper respect and appreciation for the cassock and saturno, as well as other traditional clerical dress and vestments.  I also want to apologize - again - to those priests I used to make fun of for wearing traditional vesture.

Fr. Longenecker - I'm sincerely sorry.
Fr. Zuhlsdorf - I'm sincerely sorry.
Fr.s Anonymous - I'm sincerely sorry.

I was stupid and did not understand.
No better than a brute beast - communist partisan... Ps. 72

I have so much reparation to make.


  1. What a beautiful, brave young-saint. He reminds me of another Dominic Savio. He truly lived Pope John Paul II's "Be not afraid'!! I've seen your drawing of him on your art-blog and you really catch the expression in his eyes, Terry. I love his hat too!!...

  2. *really capture the expression in his eyes -- (correction)..

  3. What a classy post! It takes a big person to apologize. Blessings upon you.

  4. I loved reading this. Thank you for growing the faith with great information! I never made fun of priests wearing cassocks but I used to wonder about them. Now happily ensconced in a traditional parish with the Latin tridentine mass and priests in cassocks. :)


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