Rolando Rivi (1931 - 1945), Martyr.
A seminarian who was born, and lived, in the town of San Valentino, in the Emiglia region of Italy, Rolando Rivi knew at an early age that he wanted to dedicate his life to Christ, whom he considered his best friend. He was an intelligent boy who always took the chance to lead his play mates to a deeper devotion to Our Lord. “How beautiful to become like him! (the priest) To celebrate the Mass with Jesus in my hands, to carry the soul of Jesus.” In those troubled times immediately following the end of the Second World War, Communists soon overran the little town of San Valentino. The hideous and open anti-clericalism soon hit close to home, when Rolando’s own priest was beaten and humiliated by the partisans, causing him to be transferred elsewhere.
Rolando was cautioned by those closest to him not to wear his cassock, which he loved with a love beyond all telling, as it reminded him— and everyone— that he belonged to Christ. One morning, after Mass, he went to the woods to read a little. But he was soon accosted by the Communists, and kidnapped. They sent his books to his parents, with a note telling them not to go looking for him.
The Communists violently stripped his cassock from Rolando, mocking him and hurling the most despicable insults against Christ and His Church at his face. They rolled it up and turned it into a soccer ball, causing him even greater grief. They also tortured him repeatedly, and beat him bloody with his own belt. Eventually, after three days, they led Rolando to an open grave— and at once, he knew what fate awaited him. He cried out to them to give him a little time to at least pray for his mother and father, before they finally buried a bullet in his head, and covered his body with dirt.
Ora pro nobis!