Blessed Rolando Rivi
70 years ago, a young Italian 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. Read more about him here.
I recalled Bl. Rolando today after a young boy's body was found in the Mississippi river - his dad is accused of killing him. The boy was African, from Liberia, his dad is suspected of killing him for insurance money. The boy's legs and hands were duct-tapped before he was thrown in the river.
Tonight while praying my rosary for him and the other young children murdered around the globe, Blessed Rolando came to mind, reminding me yesterday was the 70th anniversary of his death. My dates have been off - but I immediately commended to Bl. Rolando all kids, boys and girls, abused, mistreated, bullied, exploited, and martyred - and in particular, young Barway Collins.
Blessed Rolando Rivi, pray for us.