FATHER Richard Ho Lung doesn’t appear to place much attention to his birthdays. In fact, he confessed to the Jamaica Observer last Thursday that he normally forgets them.
“I don’t remember my birthdays because I can’t be bothered,” he said with a laugh.
But Ho Lung’s friends and colleague priests at Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) — the Catholic order he co-founded 33 years ago — didn’t allow him that oversight this year when he turned 75.
Instead, they started marking his special day — September 17 — from the night before with their version of a party.
“I was playing racquetball, which I do two, three times per week at Corpus Christi,” he related to the Sunday Observer.
After the game, he headed from the MOP premises to his nearby base at Hanover Street to shower.
While there he was informed by his fellow missionaries that he had an overseas phone call at Corpus Christi.
“They said it was very, very urgent,” he related.
“So I went over to answer the telephone, and the brothers directed me to the living room and then all of a sudden the lights went on and they hit me with eggs and flour,” Ho Lung recalled, his laugh growing stronger at the memory of the prank.
“Then we had a meal and a little talking — the brothers love to sing and dance,” he said.
The following morning they had another party, which combined the official opening of MOP’s newest centre, Holy Innocents at Heroes Circle in Kingston — established to give care and support to pregnant women and mothers — and the adjoining convent named Regina Coeli.
“People from the neighbourhood came and prayed with us and had a meal. Then some friends came, Archbishop [Charles] Dufour, PJ Stewart and Darcey [Tulloch Williams] among them, and wished me a happy birthday,” Ho Lung recalled.
“Then Wednesday night we had a mass and supper, and a little programme of signing and dancing again. We had a lot of fun. It was nice,” he said, then added with a huge grin: “I told them I am just beginning