Mis­sion­ar­ies of The Poor says thanks via mass

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mar­cia Rowe Gleaner Writer en­ter­tain­ment@glean­erjm.com

WHEN THE brothers, sis­ters and friends of Mis­sion­ar­ies of the Poor met re­cently for a mass of thanks­giv­ing, it was an an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of quadru­ple pro­por­tions. At the cen­tre of the mass was the Very Rev­erend Father Richard Ho Lung. He cel­e­brated his 77th birth­day in Septem­ber, 45th an­niver­saries of his or­di­na­tion to priest­hood and the Father Ho Lung Mu­sic Min­istry, as well as the 35th an­niver­sary of the Mis­sion­ar­ies of the Poor as a re­li­gious In­sti­tute of Brothers.

The Holy Cross Church, lo­cated on Half-Way Tree Road, saw a good turnout to celebrate the mile­stones. They lis­tened to the beau­ti­ful renditions of songs by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the brothers and their friends, while also join­ing in singing the feet stomp­ing and hand-clap­ping Father Ho Lung de­liv­ers the homily

songs from Father Ho Lung’s cat­a­logue.

The short but ful­fill­ing ser­vice was of­fi­ci­ated by Arch­bishop of Kingston Ken­neth Richards, with all the tra­di­tional Catholic rit­u­als. The homily was de­liv­ered by Father Ho Lung, who spoke of the im­por­tance of servi­tude and hu­mil­ity, as he took a jab at pol­i­tics and a slight el­bow­ing of Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

He re­minded the con­gre­ga­tion that Je­sus was called first among rob­bers to es­tab­lish a com­mu­nity be­tween him­self and mankind.

Later, at lunch, Father Ho Lung said the longevity of the mu­si­cal min­istry was due to “the best of singers, most tal­ented of peo­ple, tremen­dous sup­port­ers, like Wyn­ton Wil­liams, the mu­si­cal direc­tor; chore­og­ra­phers like Paula Shaw and the Darcy (Tul­loch) – all these won­der­ful peo­ple. The best came for­ward not be­cause the mu­sic was the best, but be­cause God is the best and He wanted it. That’s what gave me From left: Father Richard Ho Lung, Re­nee Rat­tray, Al­wyn Bully, Grace Jervis, Rose Cameron and Darcy Tul­loch.

the im­petu­ous to go on, cer­tainly not fame, but God re­ally wanted me to do it.”

The Gleaner also asked some of the long­stand­ing friends – vo­cal­ists Darcy Tul­loch, Re­nee Friends of Father Ho Lung sings at the MOP Thanks­giv­ing Mass. Hugh Dousse

Rat­tray, Rose Cameron and Grace Jervis – how the mu­sic min­istry had im­pacted their lives and more.

Tul­loch said be­ing part of the group has im­pacted her “tremen­dously, just in terms of work­ing with the poor, recog­nis­ing the needs of oth­ers and also de­vel­op­ing the gifts that God has given”.

For Rat­tray, it was her en­try point into the whole busi­ness of ser­vice.

“I was able to use my tal­ent and the gift of singing to serve in this huge way. Father Ho Lung has been a good model to me. It was an open­ing for me and it has caused me to meet so many peo­ple and be a part of a great fam­ily.”

Rose Cameron, who started with Father Ho Lung in the ’70s, says she has been en­joy­ing

ev­ery minute of it. The break­ing down of bar­ri­ers and go­ing into the homes of peo­ple who are for­got­ten by the rest of so­ci­ety was ex­cit­ing and a bless­ing.

Joined in 1989, Jervis be­came a mem­ber of the fam­ily. She sang for 10 straight years and then on and off.

“It has been a priv­i­lege – a re­ally hum­bling priv­i­lege – be­ing with this group. I have al­ways said to Father, there are some things the mis­sion­ar­ies do that some of us are just not able to do, but if in singing, we can help gen­er­ate the aware­ness and fi­nances that we can’t phys­i­cally do, then it is our priv­i­lege. So I have noth­ing but tremen­dous re­spect for this min­istry and con­tinue to en­cour­age it.”

PHO­TOS BY MAR­CIA ROWE

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