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Macau bids Lancelote Rodrigues farewell
Last Saturday, Macau paid tribute to Father Lancelote Rodrigues at a mass held in Macau Cathedral. Crowds bid a final farewell to the priest who had contributed his life-long efforts to people in need, especially to refugees.
Figures from all sectors of society and from various communities inlcuding Macau, Lusophone countries and South-east Asian destinations, were present in force at the funeral, which began at 9:30a.m. last Saturday at the Cathedral.
“He is a unique example of a fantastic human being who dedicated his life to refugees,” said Carlos Frota to TDM. A former diplomat, Frota arrived in Macau in 1996 to establish the future Consulate General of Portugal. He described Father Lancelote as “A face who gives us inspiration for our daily lives; I think the community needs these kinds of examples, of people who don’t mainly look to themselves but to others…his absence will be a painful experience for all of us.”
Among those in attendance at the mass was the Secretary for Administration and Justice, Florinda Chan, who told TDM that she could recall “the smile, joy, good mood and always encouraging words” of Father Lancelote, whom she knew personally.
Acknowledging the priest’s contribution to the community, Chan stated that the Father “is compensated by God in heaven for all he did for refugees, the needy and the entire community of Macau.”
In his praise of the priest, Victor Sereno, the Consul General of Portugal in Macau, stressed that “the example of Father Lancelote will endure,” and that “Portugal owes him much. Not only Portugal but also for his contributions made to Macau, Timor, Cambodia and Vietnam.” Sereno also noted that Lancelote Rordigues was “more than the priest of refugees”, but that the priest was “something of holiness.”
Speaking at the same occasion, legislator Leonel Alves said that the late priest “is part of the history of Macau,” and that his part in it will always be “a reference to all of us.”
The solemn mass was presided over by Bishop Jose Lai, Bishop of Macau, after which the funeral procession left the Cathedral for the last resting place of Father Lancelote: the cemetery of St. Michael the Archangel.
At 4p.m. on Monday (June 17), Father Lancelote Rodrigues passed away at the age of 89 in Macau, where he had lived for 77 years. He was acknowledged for his heroic life in social service, for his cooperation with the United Nations on Catholic Relief Services, and for his work with consulate representatives regarding visa issues.
On the same day, Chief Executive Fernando Chui released a public condolence reaffirming Father Lancelote’s philanthropic work in helping homeless refugees and the Portuguese communities. Together with great men like Father Luis Ruiz Suarez, he helped to build a harmonious society by offering basic necessities to those in need, regardless of who they were or of where they came from.
The priest came to Macau from Malaysia when he was 12 years old, and was ordained as a priest in 1949. He spent most of his life helping refugees, including those fleeing Communist China after 1949, and the Vietnam “boat people” in the 1970s.
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