I will go make Jesus known to those who do not know him yet. Our duty as priests is to
pray a lot and to save many souls and to bring them to paradise.”
~ Words of Bl. Rolando
To understand a bit more about what led up to this young man's martyrdom, it's necessary to learn some of the history of his time and place. At the time Rolando was a seminarian, the end of World War II was right around the corner. In Italy, the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who was allied with the Nazis, had just been removed from power by Allied Forces in 1943, which then triggered the Germans to seize control of certain areas of the country. In turn, Italian militant resistance groups called "partisans" were formed, which included many Communists, who hoped to fill the governmental vacuum left by Mussolini and the Nazis once the civil unrest was over.
The shrine-memorial erected at the site
of Rolando's martyrdom.
Rolando was taken to a secluded farm house in Piane di Mochio where he was stripped of his cassock, thrown in a pigpen, and beaten with his own belt. He was accused of being a Nazi spy as well as other falsehoods but he denied all charges against him. The farm owner overheard many of the things that went on and later testified to Rolando's steadfastness and faith. On the third day of his captivity - April 13th at 3:00 PM - the captive was lead out into the woods where he saw a shallow grave prepared. Understanding what his final fate would be, he asked his captors for one favor: "Allow me the time to say a prayer for my father and mother." He knelt and prayed before he was fatally shot in the head and in the heart. Two days later, his father and the parish priest, who were frantically searching for him, were tipped off as to his whereabouts and they discovered his buried remains.