Father Amancio Rodrigues, who suffered severe back, sternum and leg injuries in a car accident in 2011, retires this year. The pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Lincoln City is sad to end his service as a priest, but will use the start of his retirement to finish healing.
The priest still lives in daily pain and has difficulty with ordinary tasks like putting on his socks.
Father Rodrigues said his immediate plans will be to spend a few months recuperating at his sister’s house in Portland, and then he will spend several more months resting and recovering with family in India, where he grew up.
“Ever since I was a little boy, 7 years old, I wanted to be a priest,” Father Rodrigues said. “It has been my whole life, and I’ve enjoyed it. I enjoyed the service to the people. Now it is coming to an end officially, with no parish, no people to serve and to love, so that’s a sad part of it.”
Father Rodrigues was born in Goa, India. He was ordained in 1966 for the Archdiocese of Goa and came to Portland as a missionary in 1969. He decided to stay.
He has served throughout western Oregon, including at St. Anne, Blessed Sacrament, Holy Family, St. Therese, Our Lady of Sorrows and Queen of Peace parishes in Portland. He also served at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lake Oswego and St. Michael in Sandy.
Throughout his recovery, Father Rodrigues has cherished the concern and love people showed him.
“Even people from my former parishes contacted me,” he said. “It made my heart very, very happy. There were so many cards.”
Father Rodrigues plans to stay in Oregon; he says he has loved his time in the United States.
“I rejoice when I give the sacraments to the people,” he said. “ I have immense satisfaction in doing that type of work. I have enjoyed the people in every parish I have been in, and the people have been so good to me.”
After his period of recuperation, Father Rodrigues hopes to help out at a parish or two.
After the accident, Father Rodrigues barely halted his priestly duties. He presided daily at Masses while he was at the Cascade Terrace Rehabilitation Center in Southeast Portland. He traveled to Lincoln City to concelebrate a Mass from his wheelchair.