Father Roland R. Ripoli, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, died at 7:45 p.m. Friday, July 10, 2009, on the vigil of the Feast of Saint Benedict, patron of a happy death. A number of his Benedictine brothers were with him, one of whom sang an Italian song which brought a smile to Father Roland’s face as he fell asleep in the Lord.
Father Roland will be remembered as a priest who was able to touch the lives of many of the poor and destitute, in a sense the outcasts of society, said Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B.
Father Roland was born April 21, 1937 in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, a son of the late Leonard Ripoli and Catherine (Zappavigna) Ripoli. He was one of six children, including Bruno Ripoli of Homer City, Pennsylvania; Clara Wasyluk of West Leechburg, Pennsylvania, and Dominic Ripoli, Faye (Ophelia) Pirone and Rose Vereb, of Vandergrift.
He attended Vandergrift Public Grade School and was a 1955 graduate of Vandergrift Public High School. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Saint Vincent College in 1960 and a master of science degree in library science from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in 1966. He earned a master of divinity degree from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1964.
He made simple profession of monastic vows on July 2, 1958 and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1961. He was ordained a priest on June 6, 1964 by the late Bishop William G. Connare of Greensburg.
He served as an assistant in the Saint Vincent Library (1966-1967), dormitory moderator at Saint Vincent College (1976-1980), associate pastor of Saint Benedict Parish, Canton, Ohio (1967-1968), and assistant at the Saint Vincent Post Office (1968-1988). In 1982 he was named to the staff of the Saint Vincent Campus Ministry, and in 1988 he was named an associate director of Campus Ministry. He has served weekend missions since 1984 at a number of regional parishes, including Holy Family, Creighton; Saint Matthias, Natrona; Saint Cajetan and Holy Name, Monessen and Saint Philip Neri, Donora.
The body of Father Roland will be received in the Elizabeth J. Roderick Center at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 12, followed by viewing from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday and from 3 to 5 p.m. Monday, July 13, in the parlor of the Roderick Center. The body will be transferred to the Basilica for the vigil service at 7:15 p.m. on Monday. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, followed by interment in the Saint Vincent Cemetery.