The Economist wrote a beautiful obituary for Father Lancelot Rodrigues, a man with a huge heart who served as Catholic Relief Services’ country representative in Macau for many years, where he was known for his work with refugees from both China and Vietnam. From The Economist:
AMONG the crowds of thin, anxious people, you could spot him in an instant. Dark, burly, bespectacled, in his white vestments, he would clamber on a sampan to embrace an old man, or crouch to watch children making fireworks. You could hear him, too, bellowing in several languages—Cantonese, Malay, soy-flavoured Portuguese—or singing loudly and sweetly to his guitar, while his audience danced. For the thousands of refugees who passed from the 1940s through the island of Macau, just across the Pearl river from Hong Kong, Father Lancelote Rodrigues was the self-appointed bringer of happiness and, as important, the gatekeeper to a new life.
Those refugees came in several waves. The 1940s brought Shanghai Portuguese, many of them bankers or company bosses, fleeing Mao Zedong’s Red Army. More came during China’s Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, when Chinese soldiers too descended briefly on Macau, plastering their slogans on the walls. In the 1970s and 1980s thousands of Vietnamese boat people arrived on their rickety, overloaded craft; in the 1990s crowds of East Timorese sought refuge from the Indonesian army. All of these encountered Father Lancelote, greyer with the years but not a whit less frisky or influential, and just as prone to take out his guitar and start strumming.