For 50 years, Fr 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, September 7, a dinner was held to honour the priest, on 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 Fr Ho Lung’s life with his music ministry.
An article from The Gleaner quoted Williams saying “…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.”
He praised Fr Ho Lung 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.”
Making his own comments, Fr Ho Lung quoted Psalm 149 and said that he remembered when “music just rose out of my soul”.
He 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….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 celebration was held at the spacious Valencia Suite, Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston. Readings and presentations of citation were done by Fr Hayden Augustine and Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston.
The symbolic cutting of the cake, done by Fr 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 Fr Ho Lung’s ministry with a donation of JA$500,000 and noted that Fr Ho Lung had added to the texture of the Jamaican people.