Father Richard Ho Lung, founder of the Missionaries of the Poor, has been awarded the Order of Jamaica for his services to the poor and destitute.
The Gleaner newspaper hosted a special luncheon in honour of the 67 yr. old Roman Cathollic priest, to recognize this award and to thank him for his years of tirel;ess service to Jamaica's less fortunate.
"It's easy to get caught up in these (awards)", said Father Ho Lung, "but you know, it really says something for all the brothers and the work they have done for society's poorest."
There are 170 missionary 'brothers' in Jamaica, who help operate the six centers which are home to the country's terminally ill, elderly and abandoned poor. MOP also has centers in the Philipines, India, Haiti, Uganda and Kenya.
Missionaries of the Poor, was started by Father Ho Lung in 1981, as Brothers of the Poor. What started as a small group of men engaged in apostolic work in prisons, public almshouses and slum communities in Kingston has evolved into an international missionary religious institute that does both corporal and spiritual works of mercy in the poorer communities of the world, and has been acknowledged by the Vatican as an official Religious Community of the Church.
The Missionaries of the Poor is the first male religious order of Priests and Brothers to be found in the English-speaking Caribbean. It was established nineteen years ago by Father Richard Ho Lung. The Missionaries bear witness to Christ by living a simple, serious and disciplined life, and wearing a religious dress with sandals as their only footwear. They currently have four homes for the most deprived and disabled Jamaicans: Faith Centre, Jacob's Well, Good Shepherd and the Lord's Place. The blind, the crippled, the retarded, the deformed, the old, the young and the dying are all cared for in these homes. They eat. sleep, work, worship and die at these centres and are laid to rest by the Missionaries of the Poor.
"Father Ho Lung and Friends" is a musical troupe that has been entertaining with original music and drama for 27 years. The entire proceeds of their videos, CD's and live performances go to help support the Missionaries of the Poor in their work around the world.
If you get the chance to attend one of Father Ho Lung's retreats in Jamaica, modeled on Ignatius, be sure to go. Think of it as a Jamaican 'soul' vacation . I attended one last February. Besides the retreat, the chance to meet and see the Brothers at work in the centers was life changing. I especially appreciated my time with the younger orphans at 'Bethlehem'. The simplicity of Christ's love for us is lived out each day there. I have not yet recovered from the whole experience. I hope not to.