News & Events

My 80th Birthday

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Baby Richard cradled by his mother and with his older sister on the right

On the 17th September I will be 80 years. I never dreamt I would live to eighty years. As a young man, I said “I’ll be happy to live until fifty years, then later I said sixty years will be just perfect. To my astonishment seventy years came along, and now I’m seeing eighty years. Just around the corner. I figure the Lord wants me to live longer I haven’t yet done all that He wants of me.

The Lord gave me birth on 17th September, 1939 in Richmond, St. Mary. I was born in a little tiny shop, upstairs, with darkness all around. There was no electricity. There was my sister Loretta a half years older than I, and, my mother Janet, just 17 years old, and, my father William, forty-four years old.

Both were poor and worked very hard in the little grocery shop. They sold half-pound of brown sugar, half pint of cooking oil, one pound of flour or corn-meal, a pound of rice, a little salt and pepper. Somehow we managed to eat. Not forgetting, the country people in Richmond who saw that we were poor, and would give us scallion and onion, pepper and tomatoes. There was also the green bananas and yam.

Fr. Ho Lung’s Parents (Janeth & William)

My mother Janet was a very sweet and gentle woman, and, my father William was always present in the shop. There was very little money and goods but somehow we managed to eat and sleep. And, we were always happy. Sara who lived nearby would come and help take care of the house, and, we two little children, bathing us daily in a pan of water and singing songs like “What a friend we have in Jesus,” and, “Meet me by the river, some sweet day.”

My parents worked very hard, and, we managed to make a living. We moved to Kingston and my father sought a better education at Camperdown and then Mt. Alvernia Prep.

Fr. Richard as a young Jesuit

We met Jesus at Mount Alvernia then Loretta attended Immaculate Conception High School, and, I attended St. Georges College. There we met Jesus in a deeper and fuller way.

We were taught by our religion teachers, nuns and priests:

“Act like Jesus,

Look like Jesus

Seek the needs of others.

Give yourself, give your materials, give your love in acts of kindness, give your food, drink.

Give warmth, endurance, instruction, presence, your comfort, your encouragement, give your energy; give works and words of love, tell people to never give up, to hope and keep on going forward. Tell people of salvation and hope.”

What a message, the message of hope! That’s why I didn’t give up hope. I say “Happy Birthday to you, and to me.”