One of the central objectives of the Missionaries of the Poor is the building of a sense of community among the poor. This is accomplished in two ways. The poor are gathered together as a family and relationships are forged with the wider society. However, this depends upon the building a community of men–religious Brothers and priests–who live in community, share all things in common, follow a common spirituality and charism with a common ministry of service to the least in society. There are four central aspects of this community: Prayer, Community, Apostolate and Study.
The daily life of the Brothers revolves around a life of prayer, beginning at 5:45am and ending with night prayer at 9:00pm. The annual prayer schedule of the community also consists of a monthly day of recollection, 3-day retreats thrice per year and one 8-day retreat. The members also make a 40-day retreat in their novitiate and every 6 years after profession.
Led by Father Ho Lung, the Brothers and priests of this religious community, coming from as many as 13 countries (as diverse as West Indies, Central America, North America, Africa, India and the Philippines) unite as one brotherhood in Christ. Living a materially simply and austere life, they own nothing personally, hold no personal bank accounts, do not watch TV or listen to radio, and do not drink alcoholic beverages or smoke. They sleep on bunk beds in dormitories, pray, eat, recreate, study, work and travel in community. The Brothers live a partly monastic life in cloister, but graciously welcome visitors to their monasteries and ministries.
The essence of M.O.P spirituality is to offer “Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross”. In addition to the three vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, the Missionaries of the Poor take a fourth vow of free service to the least of our brothers and sisters. Through this vow of free-service to the least, none of the Brothers received any salary or payment for his services and neither the community nor the individual charges for its services to the poor and needy.
These services include hands-on care of the destitute homeless, orphans, elderly and sick in our care centers, where we provide food and drink, clothing, shelter, basic medical care. In addition to these works of mercy, we provide spiritual care that includes catechesis, bible study, music, worship and song worship, devotion to the Eucharist, to the Blessed Mother and other liturgies.
The Institute also provides spiritual care to our Lay Associates, which includes counseling, retreats, music and song worship, seminars and bible study. Many come from overseas to partake in the community’s prayer and works among the poor for a pilgrimage/retreat experience. This service is given in return for our Lay Associates’ support for the community.
In the Missionaries of the Poor’s Institute of Learning, Brothers receive the spiritual, theological and practical training needed for their life and work. Courses are equivalent to any Catholic seminary program and include biblical studies, theology, MOP spirituality, ecclesiology, homiletics and seminars as well as practical studies that include music, nursing, gardening and building.
Of course this study is not limited to the time in the classroom. The Brothers are constantly studying and growing both spiritually and intellectually through the participation in every aspect of community life with time set aside daily for meditation.
| A LIFE OF PRAYER