Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Diary of a Ghetto Priest | Music and the story of my soul

Published:Thursday | October 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMFr Richard Ho Lung
A production by Father Richard Ho Lung.

The poor, the poor of Jamaica, the poor all over the world - the poor of Christ, our poor brothers and sisters all over the world - that's my whole life, but there is also 49 years of writing music, performances and productions. I thought it was 47 years, but two years before my ordination to the priesthood, the music began to flow, strongly encouraged and partnered by Paul Quinlan, a fellow Jesuit.

Paul was the first ever to have scriptured new music for the liturgy in the modern, post-Vatican era. He is a most generous, warm-hearted man. He wrote hundreds of new folk hymns for worship; some we now sing in Jamaica - Give Thanks to the Lord, It's a Brand New Day, The Lord is My Shepherd, and many others. He is known in the English Catholic world as the father of new English liturgical music.

Paul Quinlan honoured me by being at my ordination on July 4, 1971, and has visited Jamaica a number of times afterwards. He lived with the brothers and worked with the poor. He really is my brother. We have been friends for well over 55 years and have brought each other through thick and thin in religious life. It's one of those genuine relationships that remains with you, stamped in your soul by Christ as a genuine special gift that will not die.

Each one of us has been blessed with people who we will never forget. We are grateful for those special people, and we don't ever want them to leave our memories. They are friends forever, though they must go on, and they must go their ways as Christ calls each one of us to spread the light in new ways and new places. In the case of Paul Quinlan, the music and sense of discovery of something new in expressing the life of Christ will never be forgotten. In a sense, we will never be separated.




There is my close Jamaican friend Wynton Williams. At 79 years old, I give thanks to Wynton Williams for deep friendship in Christ and our oneness in producing music together over the last 35 years. It is almost breathtaking what he has done with the music.

Wynton, however, is not just a music partner. He loves the poor, he loves the brothers, he loves God, and we love each other as friends. We have been through rough and beautiful times together. The friendship is unconditional through laughter and tears. It has made life full of creativity and deep sharing of our human and divine experiences with the Lord, and with one another. It's never without struggle to bring our vision of Christ and everyday life to a point with meaning and purpose. Filled with the cross and the resurrection, we are bidding the music and drama productions to reach into people's hearts so they will know the one true God. We hope all this - music, lyrics, productions - by God's will, will reach people's hearts and minds in Jamaica, and all over the world wherever we have been, so people will experience Christ in a new evangelisation, in service of the poorest of the poor, all over the world.

So, we will pour out our souls once again in service of Jamaicans at the Courtleigh Auditorium on Saturday, October 6 and 13, 2018, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 7 and 14, 2018, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tel. no: 876-948-6173 / 876-585-2263/876-806-1222.

God bless you. Hope to see you soon!