Father Ho Lung honoured by Recognition
At any awards event, the winners are always well received.
But at the recent American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Jamaica Business and Civic Leadership Awards and Banquet, none could grumble when Father Richard Ho Lung got the biggest cheer. The founder of the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
"I am delighted," he said, before acknowledging who he feels is the true recipient of the recognition. "May God be glorified by the work of the Brothers. The Lord's love of the poorest has been recognised." Ho Lung and other stalwarts of Jamaican society were nominated for the individual civic leadership awards before the event. But in a twist he did not expect, Ho Lung was singled out.
"I did not think of it," he said, referring to the possibility of winning the award. "When we reached the AmCham Awards function, we saw that our name was the only one up for the Lifetime Achievement Award."
A 'true born' Jamaican of Chinese parentage, Father Ho Lung was ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church in 1971. Before his philanthropic work, he taught at his alma mater, St George's College, as well as the University of the West Indies, and Boston College in the United States. He founded MOP in 1981, but it was initially named Brothers of the Poor (the name was changed in 1992). The aim was simple in its concept: create a band of brothers to assist the needy, the abandoned and the forgotten.
Father Ho Lung and his brethren have reached out to the unfortunate in the slums of Kingston, not just ministering to them, but living with them. Since then, the wider Jamaica has embraced the MOP and readily supports its various endeavours.
Chief among them is the annual musical production, 'Father Ho Lung and Friends'. The work of the MOP has not gone unnoticed. In 1988, the organisation became the first male Catholic religious institute founded in the Caribbean to receive Vatican approval.
Today, nearly 600 brothers from 13 countries currently serve the downtrodden in nine missions around the world. Now 76 years old, Father Ho Lung is still going strong. But it's not the accolades that keep him moving.
"We are motivated by the Lord's own call to bring good news to the poor, and the happiness the poor experience, and that of our Brothers," he said.