E-book: Alfredo Del Rosso (Part 7)
Alfredo Del Rosso
Del Rosso in Italian
Building St. Peter's
Christ and Mussolini
Little baby Jesus
Pasta, pizza and pinocchio
Alfredo Del Rosso
I have a question
Kingdom strikes back
Our balanced attack
Pasta, pizza and Pinocchio
Want more out
Searching for God's will?
Nazarene Missions International resource
by Howard Culbertson
Material for this biography was gathered in Italy in the late 1970's from
letters, books, magazine articles and interviews with many of the principal characters including
several missionaries to Italy, Alfredo Del Rosso himself (1890-1985) and members of his family.
Many of those interviewed for the book have since died.
7. Retirement? Finally
As Alfredo Del Rosso's scheduled retirement date of
August of 1969 approached, he began to have second thoughts about stepping down as pastor of
the Church of the Nazarene in Civitavecchia, Italy. He attempted to talk missionary
superintendent Roy Fuller into just one more year in that
coastal town, suggesting that young Salvatore Scognamiglio -- who was slated to replace him --
could be put to work in another church for one year. Perhaps the now 79-year-old Del Rosso
feared the unknowns of being completely retired. He was alone now; Niny was gone. But Roy Fuller didn't budge and kindly, but firmly,
he insisted that Del Rosso step down and allow Scognamiglio to step in as planned.
In Del Rosso's thoughts may have been some economic
uncertainties. When he stepped down as pastor, he would continue to receive the $120 monthly
pension he had been granted in 1961. However, since he
was no longer pastoring, he would not be provided the housing and utilities which had come with
the Civitavecchia assignment. As a result of that loss of that benefit, Alfredo Del Rosso moved
to Prato upon his retirement to live with his daughter Maria and her family in their condominium
apartment. Son-in-law Alberto Parenti had become public
relations representative for the huge Italian textile manufacturers' association headquartered near
Florence. Salvatore Scognamiglio and his family arrived from European Nazarene College in
Busingen (Germany) to pastor the 90-member strong Civitavecchia congregation.
At that point Alfredo Del Rosso did not retreat to
rocking-chair retirement. He continued doing some translation work. In 1970 he wrote Roy Fuller that he had completed a thorough
revision of the Nazarene Manual translation which he had done some time before.
That particular manuscript was not, however, ever printed.
The work of the district for which Del Rosso had laid the
foundations also continued to progress. In 1971 two more men were ordained and that summer
the district's first youth camp was conducted (the Italians had already participated in two
all-Europe youth institutes).
After property had been purchased and renovated for
church/office/parsonage space in the Montesacro suburb of Rome, the Fullers invited Del Rosso
to give the dedicatory address. However, a snowstorm prevented him from making the trip from
Prato to Rome. The new chapel was located close to the home of Del Rosso's daughter Noemi, and she and her family joined the Boccinis and the Fullers to become the nucleus of that
congregation. Two of Del Rosso's other daughters, Febe and Lea, were part of the Salvation
Army in England and Italy.
Reflecting his burden for the spiritual health of his family,
Del Rosso wrote to Roy Fuller in November of 1973, "May the
Lord bless all our dear families and give us to see all our dear ones saved and sanctified by the Holy Spirit." It was only natural that Del Rosso should hope that
his children and grandchildren would form part of a strong corps of second- and third-generation
Nazarenes and thus carry forward his legacy. That didn't happen to the degree he had long hoped,
but after all, his family had been about grown when he became a Nazarene in 1948.
Alfredo Del Rosso's vision for a holiness work which would
reach every Italian burned bright to the very end of his life. In April of 1973 he wrote to Roy
Fuller, "May the Lord give us a revival of preaching in the Holy Spirit and Italy will return
as it was in the times of the first saints and apostles in Rome." His dreams also continued
to reach beyond the borders of Italy. In March of 1974 Del Rosso made a moving plea for an
Italian-speaking pastor to be sent to minister to the Italian-speaking population near European
Nazarene College in the area of Schaffhausen, Switzerland. After three decades it's a plea that is
yet to be answered.
After our own appointment to Italy in January of 1974, a
story along with photos of all the new missionary appointees and our assignments appeared in the
English-language Herald of Holiness (now called Holiness Today).
Upon receiving his copy, Del Rosso wrote to Roy Fuller, "I saw in the Herald of
Holiness the photos of two new missionaries to Italy. May the Lord bless them and bring
them to our country with His blessing. They will be two more souls working in Italy that believe
in the full salvation from sin."
At the 1975 district assembly conducted in the
just-dedicated Moncalieri church building in suburban Turin, district leadership was faced with a
confession of adultery by Rev. Ricchiardino, one of the men ordained in 1971 and who was then
pastor of the Moncalieri congregation. The denomination had to ask that Ricchiardino surrender
his credentials as an ordained elder. After a sad meeting of the Italian Board of Ministerial
Credentials with General Superintendent Edward Lawlor, Del Rosso wrote Roy Fuller, "Forward,
dear brother. Forward, young missionaries . . . The Nazarene work will go forward and prosper.
Every church will be revived. Other churches will join. Young people will consecrate their lives
and will go to the Bible school to prepare themselves for the holiness work in Italy! Hallelujah!
God is with us!"
It was the kind of uplifting letter that Roy Fuller needed at
that moment. Only two years before he had had to take the credentials from another Italian
pastor, Rev. Izzo, who had been caught taking money from a bookstore where he worked in
Naples. Now another promising and effective man on the district had let Satan enter his life and destroy his ministry in the church. Those were
tough blows for missionary Fuller, but the strong support and encouragement of Del Rosso
helped to soften it.
To be sure, Alfredo Del Rosso wasn't without his faults --
but he poured his life into proclaiming full salvation from all sin. As he grew old, he did not
become bitter. He did not become disgusted with the way the younger generation ran things in
the church nor did he ever express fear for its continued existence.
Asked to lead a morning Bible study
at the 1975 Nazarene family camp held on the Italian Riviera,
Alfredo Del Rosso used one session to lead Olga Spannacini to the
Lord. Olga had come to the camp to aid her handicapped son who had been a part of the
Florence congregation for two decades. The fire ignited in this 65-year old woman's heart after
her conversion soon brought an elementary-age granddaughter to the Lord and then one of her
two daughters and her husband -- all as a result of Del Rosso's clear witness and insistent
To the end of his life in 1985 Alfredo Del Rosso's one
concern remained that the Nazarenes maintain a clear doctrine of entire
sanctification and that the experience be a reality in their lives. In a letter to Roy Fuller in
February of 1975 he noted, "Great is the need of preaching true holiness." That same month,
during a district-wide evangelism conference held in Rome, I saw him take aside Domenico
Calabrese, a local preacher from Florence, and explain to him "more clearly the way of holiness"
after Calabrese said something which Del Rosso thought revealed some theological confusion on
Alfredo Del Rosso still enjoyed playing his accordion and
nearly every Sunday traveled the 20 miles from Prato to Florence on the bus to participate in
morning worship. He was also used on the district as a supply preacher when pastors had to be
gone from their posts. Age, however, began to slow Del Rosso down. One evening during the
1976 district assembly in Florence, he collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital by Maria
and her husband. The delegates were greatly concerned for him and even had special prayer. By
the next evening Del Rosso was feeling good enough to exert some authority and sign himself
out of the hospital.
One odd thing in Alfredo Del Rosso's personal story is that a
tight filming schedule prevented his appearing in Mission Europe, a 1970's film
produced on Nazarene work and ministry in Europe. The filming had to he done in the summer
of 1974 immediately following the Nazarene World Youth Conference in Switzerland. During
that particular period Alfredo Del Rosso was out of the country on vacation with family and
friends. So, the man who had been responsible for planting the Church of the Nazarene on the
European continent is conspicuously absent from that film.
What evaluation can we make today of Alfredo Del Rosso,
this man who's revered by some and maligned by others? Well, he and his wife were instrumental
in planting the two strongest Nazarene churches in Italy -- Florence and Civitavecchia. Through
him almost all other existing congregations had their beginnings -- either as a result of his
contacts or of contacts made by his contacts. He helped to launch the publishing program and
was superintendent when the fledgling Bible school was launched which eventually merged with
the German school to become European Nazarene College. The second generation of Nazarenes
has taken over. The son of Angelo Cereda attended European
Nazarene College to prepare for the ministry and is now the Nazarene leader in Sicily. Elide
Capannoli (of the Florence Lagomarsino family)
opened her home in Siena for the start of a work in the city where Del Rosso grew up. By the late
1970's the Italian district had passed the 40 percent self-support level and had accepted the
challenge of becoming a regular district by the year 1990 when Alfredo Del Rosso would have
turned 100 (he died in 1985 at age 95). At the 1977 district assembly, Salvatore Scognamiglio
was named district superintendent by General Superintendent V. H. Lewis.
At the 1975 district assembly General Superintendent Edward Lawlor preached a stirring message on "Mastered by a
You ask me what my evaluation is of Del Rosso? I think
that's it: here's a man who allowed himself to be mastered by a vision. Looking back over the
years from this vantage point in time, he had been a man who was in the right place at the right
moment and who allowed himself to be guided by that vision from the Holy Spirit.
SNU missions course materials and syllabi
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma
City, OK 73132 | Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax:
Updated: February 10, 2019
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