Fri | Sep 20, 2019

Music just rose out of my soul – Fr Richard Ho Lung - Priest celebrates milestones

Published:Monday | September 9, 2019 | 12:12 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
Father Ho Lung (centre) is joined by former Father Ho Lung and Friends performers (from left) Darcy Williams, Renee Rattray, Rose Cameron, and Grace Jarvis in the cutting of his 80th birthday cake on Saturday at Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston.
Father Ho Lung (centre) is presented with a gift by Archbishop of Kingston, Kenneth Richards (right) and Father Heyden Augustine during his 80th birthday celebration on Saturday.
Birthday boy Father Richard Ho Lung.
Members of Father Ho Lung and Friends in performane at Father Ho Lung’s 80th birthday celebration.
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For 50 years, Father Richard Ho Lung and his music ministry, Father Ho Lung and Friends, have been synonymous with helping the less fortunate in various parts of the world through missionaries of the Poor. Quite appropriately, on Saturday, a dinner was held to honour both of the reverend, for his 80th birthday, and his ministry’s 50th anniversary.

Wynton Williams, musical director of Father Ho Lung and Friends, in his remarks reinforced this juxtaposition of Father Ho Lung’s life with his music ministry.

“About 50 years ago, pioneers like Darcy Williams, Rose Cameron, Renee Rattary, et al, fueled what today has grown tremendously into what is the greater part of Father Ho Lung’s ministry.

“You do not think of music and not think of Father, or vice versa. We see how he has been touched by the suffering of humanity, how he saw music as a very fitting vehicle for creating in so many peoples’ lives a deep awareness of what’s really happening in our world in terms of the poverty and our poor. This has revealed a lot about Father Ho Lung, the man,” Williams said.

He praised the Roman Catholic priest for not succumbing “to the popular rhythm of the other kinds of music”.

“He stayed with our Jamaican music and saw to it that this would be God’s gift in giving back to his people.”

In making his remarks, Ho Lung quoted Psalm 149 and said that he remembered when “music just rose out of my soul”.

The Reverend Father also stated, “We ask you all to understand that there is no one else but the one true God –he who will rule over the world.”

He continued, “What is it I want above all for my birthday? I want God to be in this country, and there is nothing else I want above that.”

The mirthful celebration was held at the spacious Valencia at Spanish Court Hotel. Worthington. Readings and presentations of citation were done by Father Hayden Agustine and Archbishop Kenneth Richards.

The symbolic cutting of the cake, done by Ho Lung and the pioneers of Father Ho Lung and Friends, was preceded by the customary singing of Happy Birthday. In two appearances, some members of the cast of the Father Ho Lung and Friends upcoming production, Isaiah, thrilled patrons with songs, including Run Judah and Let There Be Peace.

Grantley Stephenson, CEO of Kingston Wharves Ltd, a long-time benefactor, reinforced his belief in the work of Ho Lung’s ministry with a $500,000 donation and noted that Ho Lung had added to the texture of the Jamaican people.