The following series of texts has an objective to introduce you to the many kinds of assistance needed by various organizations, parishes or Catholic communities throughout the world. We invite you to travel with us to all the continents that you may see how very important your support is to them.
Enjoy the read !
By ACN International
Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
What Richard Ho Lung had seen, had changed everything. The poverty and destitution, the violence and suffering present in Jamaica deeply moved Father Richard Ho Lung. In 1981, this Jesuit priest and university professor set aside his academic titles and duties. He had studied philosophy, English literature, theology, and had lectured at St. George’s College, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica as well as at Boston College in the United States. In 1971, Jamaican-born Richard Ho Lung was ordained to the priesthood. “I was preaching the Word of God, but not really living it,” recalled Father Richard.
He left the Jesuit order and went to live in slums and ghettos of Kingston, the Jamaican capital. “I got to know the poor and came to understand the Beatitudes of Christ as my mission,” says Father Richard, now aged 73, whose father and mother originated from Hong Kong.
At first, there was considerable astonishment among those he encountered, but very soon people came to admire this priest who had devoted himself to caring for the poor, the elderly and the sick. Drawn by his example, others soon joined him and very quickly a small community of four men, priests and laity, was formed. They called themselves the Brothers of the Poor, because they were indeed accepted within these circles as such.
Jamaica: A young country
The Kingston’s bishop encouraged and supported this young community that had just come into being. Later, the brothers continued their service in the slums by establishing a home for the homeless. Soon after, they began helping prisoners. They drew strength for their growing task of ministering to the material and spiritual needs of the poorest of the poor, from their community life, rooted in faith and regular times for prayer, liturgy and discussion. The young community grew and later changed its name to the Missionaries of the Poor.
The Beatitudes became their guiding rule, while listening and helping became their daily routine. In order to help people find a way out of poverty and violence, the brothers encouraged those involved to adopt a new way of thinking, a fundamental conversion of spirit. Instead of resorting to violence and fighting one another, they were encouraged to embark on joint initiatives together. Father Richard reminded the brothers, “Whatever Christ said, did and suffered, we too must say, do and suffer.” The centres run by the brothers are places not only for meetings and social support but also for silence and prayer.
The concrete spiritual and material needs of society are seen by the community as a challenge. For Jamaica is a young country, the average age of its population being 2.8 million is under the age of 24. The Holy Innocents Crisis Centre was created to meet this challenge, a home and refuge for up to 200 at-risk mothers and their babies, or expectant mothers about to give birth.
The order, Missionaries of the Poor, has now spread worldwide and currently numbers over 500 brothers and priests, not only in Jamaica but also in Haiti, in India, Indonesia and Kenya, the Philippines, Uganda and the United States. They are supported in their work by part-time volunteers as well.
ACN has supported the Missionaries of the Poor in the past and this year we are supporting them once again in Jamaica, with a contribution of $ 27,000 for the formation of 106 brothers and 44 novices, to ensure the continuum of their ministry to the poor and spiritual lives built on solid foundations.
If you wish to make a donation, please call us: (514) 932-0552 or 1 (800) 585-6333