St. George's College
Old Boys Association
Profile on Fr. Richard HoLung
..... from STGCOBA (Ontario Chapter) 1998 Souvenir Edition
Father Richard HoLung
Sixteen years ago,
Father Richard Ryan Ho Lung, a graduate of St. George's College and already a
Jesuit priest for a number of years felt the call to respond more radically to
the gospel challenge. Surrounded by desperate poverty in Kingston, where the
poor suffered greatly, he had a strong feeling that God was urging him to
respond immediately to their cry and to be with them in their suffering. At
first he was reluctant to take up the challenge but did so in obedience to God's
In 1981 he made the difficult decision of leaving the Society of Jesus, which
he loved, and founded a religious community of men who would dedicate their
lives in the sole service of the rejected and the destitute. And so with Hayden
Augustine and Brian Kerr they set about the task relying only on God's love.
They moved into a house offered to them by the then Archbishop Samuel Carter
from where they went out to work among the poor: wiped messy bottoms, bound
wounds, shaved, bathed and fed the suffering ones. They went to Gun Court where
hundreds of young men were locked up without a fair trial and taught them
Scripture and skills.
In 1985 the first Apostolate, "Faith Centre" was opened to
accommodate retarded and Down's Syndrome children and adults. In 1987
"Jacob's Well" came into being as housing for 60 destitute adults. In
1989 an unused warehouse which came to be known as "Good Shepherd" was
acquired and converted into housing for 60 of the many homeless that were
roaming Kingston. The calls for "help" far exceeded the capacity to
respond. 1994 saw the opening of "Lord's Place". To date this is the
largest enterprise, housing 95 persons of different ages and with different
To do the work God has set out for them they needed more men so they ventured
to the Far East to seek vocations. The first Mission was opened in 1992 in
Warangal, India for lepers and railway children by Father Hayden Augustine.
Young men were inspired and they came forward to join the Missionaries of the
Poor. In September 1993 Father Brian Kerr, the only other Jamaican besides
Father Ho Lung, and Brother Maximo Medina went to the Philippines to work in a
slum in Naga City and have since added the care of 300 mentally retarded
persons. In February 1994, two Missionaries of the Poor went to care for 150
sick and homeless persons in Cap-Haitien, Haiti.
All along the way, they received clear affirmations from God that He wants
this religious community of men totally dedicated to Him and His poor. Mother
Teresa visited their homes in Kingston in 1986; Francis Cardinal Arinze of
Nigeria celebrated the Eucharist with the Brothers in Kingston in 1990; His
Holiness Pope John Paul 11 visited the ghettos of Kingston in 1993.
From a risky beginning of 3 men the Missionaries of the Poor now has 103
Brothers worldwide who are committed by vows to God, His people, and His Church.
On October 7,1997 the Vatican gave formal recognition to the Missionaries of the
Poor as an official Religious Community of the Church. To a packed audience at
the Holy Trinity Cathedral on March 25, 1998, the first male religious community
in the English speaking Caribbean, the Missionaries of the Poor, was formally
erected to a Religious Institute of Diocesan Right by the Most. Rev. Edgerton R.
Clarke, D.D, Archbishop of Kingston.
The Church in general, and in particular the Archdiocese of Kingston has
acquired a precious jewel, not one of stone: something much more priceless. The
Missionaries of the Poor life of service to the most destitute, reveals the face
of Christ to the World. The Missionaries have chosen, "Mary, Cause of our
Joy" as their Patroness. The motto is, "United with Him on the Cross,
We will Serve Joyfully". What a challenge to our World today!
Contact in Canada for the Missionaries of the Poor is 905 940 2606.