Today, Saturday, October 5, 2013, we have a new Blessed: Rolando Rivi, a seminarian from Modena, Italy, who died a martyr in 1945 (at the age of 14) after being brutally tortured by Communists in hatred of the faith. They had demanded that he stop wearing his cassock, which he refused to do.
Cardinal Angelo Amato celebrated the Mass at which he was declared a Blessed (beatified) this afternoon in the city of Modena.
Rolando had hoped to be a missionary priest.
Here is an account of his death (source):
On April 10, 1945, he played the organ during the Mass celebrated by Fr. Marzocchini in the parish. At the end of the Mass, wearing his cassock, he packed up his things and crossed the forest that separated him from his home, which he never reached. After a desperate search for three days, Rolando’s father and Fr. Camellini found his body filled with signs of torture and martyrdom. Rolando had suffered three days of torture and humiliation, suffering insults against God, Christ, and the Church. The Communist partisans began their torment against the young seminarian by removing his cassock and beating him hard with a belt. After torturing him, the Communist partisans took him through the trees, leaving a trail of blood behind him. His captors let him pray and he prayed for his parents and for his murderers. Afterwards, the Communists fired twice, hitting him in the head and near the heart. The murderers then left him half-buried and took his cassock with them, tying it in knots and using it as a soccer ball.
As they killed him, he repeated the words, “I BELONG TO JESUS”.
There don’t seem to be very many biographies of him online in English yet, but if I find something good I’ll post it. Blessed Rolando Rivi is surely an inspiration to all of us, but especially to seminarians.
Blessed Rolando Rivi, pray for us!
UPDATE: See a fuller biography in my latest post.