Hong Kong/Brussels, September 6th, 2016 (UCAN/GC). Early September, Fr Ronald R. Saucci passed away in Hong Kong, at 81 years. Saucci was one of the early directors of UCA News and pillars of this Asian church news agency.

He was known for his straight-talking. Before joining the Maryknoll congregation at the age of 31, he had served in the US Army in Germany. Ordained in 1965, he accepted his mission in Hong Kong in 1968. He worked in a parish in Chai Wan with refugees. There he started a bakery, which produced more than 5,000 buns a day for schools. Most went to Buddhist children and children of other Chinese religions.

For him, the interreligious dialogue was a normal way of life. After some time, he had to go to the US for an assignment. While he was there, a public affairs television producer heard him preach and invited him to audition. He was immediately put on contract. Ronald did a weekly talk show and a radio show. Guests included the religious, diplomats, actors/actresses - anybody involved in helping people live a better life. Later he was also elected to the board of directors of the United Nations NGO community and became director of communications for Maryknoll in New York.

However, this was not the life he wanted and felt he was more needed in Asia. So he resigned from everything and returned to Hong Kong in 1980. After returning, he was asked to become the assistant director of the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN). He would become for the next 25 years its chief financial officer. He became responsible for probably 80 to 90 per cent of its annual budget for salaries and upkeep of the offices over Asia. He was multi-talented in media but also in business. He sent up contemporary China’s first Catholic printing plant. He was also parish priest and he was idolized by the mainly Filipino congregation where he celebrated the Sunday mass. He knew how to preach in sharing his own heart stories, but in such a way as to awaken his hearer’s own stories”, testified his confriar Fr William Grimm.

Ronald was a Brooklyn-born son of an Argentinean-Italian-American master plumber and he also found solutions to the most complicated situations not only in English, Spanish or Italian but also in Chinese. He appeared in 1980 for the first time in the life of OCIC and Unda. At the Manilla World Congress of OCIC and Unda, he was present and he became in the following years a reference for both organizations. The organization experienced what Grimm also experienced: “ Ron Saucci did not have a common touch. He did not need it. He was a common man. He had the foibles common to us all. But, he used those foibles for the sake of his vocation as a priest and missioner. He could touch and teach the common man in everyone, no matter how “uncommon” they might appear to others or even themselves”.