Saturday, April 13, 2024

Martyrdom of Blessed Rolando Rivi, Cassock Martyr

Blessed Rolando Maria Rivi ( Castellarano, 7 January 1931 – Monchio , 13 April 1945 ) was a Catholic seminarian , killed by communists during the Second World War. He is the patron saint of seminarians and altar servers of the archdiocese of Modena-Nonantola.

Born in San Valentino, a hamlet of Castellarano , the second of the three children of Roberto Rivi and Albertina Canovi [1] , he entered the seminary of Marola in the autumn of 1942 but in 1944 , following the German occupation of the town, he was forced to return home. However, he did not stop feeling like a seminarian or wearing the cassock, despite the contrary opinion of his parents, who were worried about the anti-religious acts of hatred widespread in the area: acts of violence and the killing of priests became very common in that period.

On 10 April 1945, during the last stages of the war of liberation , he was kidnapped by a group of communist partisans, [2] [3] [4] who forced the fourteen-year-old boy to follow them into the countryside. A note was left for his parents saying "Don't look for him. He'll come with us partisans for a moment". [2] Accusing him of spying [5] for the fascists, after three days of beatings, humiliation and torture, they killed him with pistol shots in a wood in Piane di Monchio , a hamlet of Palagano . [6] [7]

Following the indications of some partisans, including those of the murderer himself [8] , on the evening of 14 April Roberto Rivi and Don Alberto Camellini, curate of San Valentino, found his body with a face covered in bruises, a tortured body and two fatal wounds, one to the left temple and the other at the heart. The next day they transported him to Monchio, where he had a Christian funeral and burial. [9]

After the Liberation, on 29 May 1945 the body was moved and buried in the San Valentino cemetery, with the homage of all the parishioners. Since his tomb had become a destination for pilgrimages, on 26 June 1997 , with a solemn ceremony, he was given a new burial inside the church of San Valentino, in the shrine of the parish priests of the parish.

In 1951 the Court of Assizes of Lucca sentenced those responsible for the killing, Giuseppe Corghi, who had shot, and Delciso Rioli, commander of the 27th Garibaldi "Dolo" Brigade, to 23 years of imprisonment. The conviction was confirmed in 1952 by the Court of Assizes of Appeal of Florence and became final in the Supreme Court. [10] The two were then convicted - in all three levels of justice - for murder to 22 years in prison, but they served only 6 as a result of the Togliatti Amnesty .

Giuseppe Corghi (1919-1998) (left) and Delcisio Rioli (1922-1996), (right) convicted in 1951 for the murder of Rolando Rivi.

After a series of healings recognized as miraculous by the Catholic Church, as they were obtained with his intercession, his cause for canonization was opened on 7 January 2006 by the Archdiocese of Modena . In May 2012, the competent Vatican commission of theological "censors" approved the validity of his martyrdom of him in odium fidei . [11]

On March 28, 2013, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree recognizing his martyrdom. [12] On 5 October 2013 the beatification ceremony was celebrated in front of thousands of people gathered in the Palazzetto dello Sport in Modena . [13] [14]

After the Angelus at Saint Peter's Square on 6 October 2013 Pope Francis said:

"Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday in Modena Rolando Rivi was proclaimed blessed. He was a seminarian of that land, Emilia, who was killed in 1945 when he was 14 years old out of hatred for his faith. He was guilty only of wearing a cassock during a period when violence was unleashed against the clergy for having raised their voice in the name of God to condemn massacres that immediately followed the war. But faith in Jesus conquers the spirit of the world! Let us give thanks to God for this young martyr and for his heroic witness to the Gospel. And how many 14-year-olds today have this example before their eyes: a courageous young person who knew where he had to go, who knew the love of Jesus in his heart and gave his life for him! A beautiful example for young people!"

In autumn 2013, a traveling exhibition entitled " I am of Jesus " was also prepared, consisting of twenty panels. [15] In some places, such as Rio Saliceto, the exhibition was boycotted by the parents of the local " Anne Frank " school [15] [16] who, on the grounds that the exhibition "sullied the memory of the Resistance ", obtained the suspension of visits educational. [15] [17] The bishop of the Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla Massimo Camisasca responded to the stop on visits:

«The beatification of Rolando Rivi was presented by the diocesan Church as a great moment of reconciliation. This is the meaning of the Church's recognition of martyrdom. Reconciliation cannot occur through the denial of historical truth. No one should be afraid of historical truth. If there is an evil that has been done we must denounce it: we must forgive those who committed it, but not hide what happened."

( The bishop of the Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla Massimo Camisasca regarding the Rio Saliceto controversy [15] )

On 15 April 2018, on the 73rd anniversary of the martyrdom, Mrs. Meris Corghi, daughter of Giuseppe Corghi, in the presence of Bishop Massimo Camisasca, shook hands with the sister and other living relatives of the Martyr, sending a message of peace and of union for the end of all wars "...this handshake between our two families is the symbol of the right atonement for the brotherly hatred for every father, for every grandfather, for every great-grandfather that everyone has in our family returned alive from the war." [18] [19] [20]

The liturgical memory of Blessed Rolando is celebrated on May 29 , the day of his transfer to the San Valentino cemetery in 1945 . The liturgical feast is celebrated all over the world and in the Philippines there is a group of "friends of Rolando". Relics of the young seminarian are widespread throughout the world, generally fragments of the wooden box in which his body was kept [21] .

1. Andrea Muni, Holy children, holy boys , publisher, 2011
2. Jump to:a b "Victim of communist partisans will be beatified", article inStoria in retenº 91 of May 2013, page 4
3. Rolando Rivi will be blessed. This is his story |
4. From "Il Foglio"
5. Andrea Zambrano, Blessed Rolando Maria Rivi. The child martyr , Imprimatur editore, 2014
6. From "il Giornale"
7. Rolando Rivi , in Saints, blessed and witnesses - Enciclopedia dei santi , URL consulted on 2 April 2013 .
8. The seminarian killed by partisans will soon be blessed - Vatican Insider
9. « Die decima quinta mensis aprilis 1945. Rivi Rolandus, filius Ruperti et Canovi Albertinae, statu celebs, e S. Valentino (Regii Lepidi) hic, aetate annorum 14, die 13 aprilis currentis, hora 19, per manus hominum iniquorum, in Comunione Sanctae Matris Ecclesiae, animam Deo reddidit. Cadaver autem eius, hodie, sacris persolutis exequiis, ac Missa celebrated, in coemeterio parochial, sepultum est. » Death certificate taken from the parish register of Monchio.
10. Article by Luigi Accattoli
11. "Yes to the beatification of Rolando Rivi", in Resto del Carlino of 18 May 2012.
12. PROMULGATION OF DECREES OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE CAUSES OF SAINTS Archived on 31 March 2013 in the Internet Archive .. Rolando Rivi will be blessed on 5 October, as announced by the Archbishop of Modena Monsignor Antonio Lanfranchi on the day of commemoration of the death of the seminarian killed by the partisans on April 13, 1945.
13. Rolando Rivi, "one more priest" in the ranks of the blessed on Agenzia Zenit dated 5/10/2013
14. Rolando Rivi is blessed on Agenzia Zenit of 7/10/2013
15. Jump to:a b c d School: visit to Rolando Rivi exhibition prevented | News |
16. Negri: the no to the Rolando Rivi exhibition is serious |
17. Elementary school bans exhibition by Rolando Rivi |
18. From "Avvenire"
19. From "Famiglia Cristiana"
20. From "La nuova Bussola Quotidiana
21. Aldo Cazzullo , The priest shot by the fascists, the seminarian killed by the partisans: secrets and truths of the "Italian civil war" , in Corriere della Sera , 30 May 2021. URL consulted on 30 May 2021 .

  • Mino Martelli, One war and two resistances, 1940-1946. Works and blood of the Italian clergy and in particular the Romagna-Emilian clergy in the war and in the resistance on two fronts , Bari, Edizioni Paoline, 1976.
  • Paolo Risso, Rolando Rivi, a boy for Jesus, Camposampiero, Edizioni Del Noce, 1997. ISBN 88-86115-85-7 . Available online .
  • Emilio Bonicelli, Blood and Love. Novel , Milan, Jaca Book, 2004. ISBN 88-16-30403-0 .
  • Roberto Beretta, History of the priests killed by the partisans, Casale Monferrato, Piemme, 2005. ISBN 88-384-8459-7 .
  • Emilio Bonicelli, Rolando Rivi, martyr seminarian (preface by Luigi Negri ), Camerata Picena, Shalom, 2010. ISBN 978-88-8404-220-0 .
  • Emilio Bonicelli, Rolando Rivi witness to the truth, in Il Nuovo Areopago , nn. 1-2/2014, pp. 45–49.
  • Andrea Zambrano, Rolando Maria Rivi, il martire bambino, Edizioni Ares, 2023.
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