UNEP confers honorary degree to MOP founder
By Lizel S. Macatangay
Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) founder, Very Rev.Fr. Richard Ho Lung, was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Humanities (H.D.) honoris causa, during the Special Academic Convocation held at the University of Northeastern Philippines (UNEP) CCA Theatre, Saturday, Nov. 27.
Fr. Ho Lung is a Jamaican priest who came to the Philippines two years ago to visit the MOP office in Naga City and personally see how their beneficiaries are doing. He ended up staying in the city longer than he has anticipated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not wanting to waste his time, Fr. Ho Lung continued with his apostolic work, strengthening further the organization’s mission to feed the hungry, put roof on the homeless, open the doors to the abandoned, took care of the sick, and embraced those who sought love and compassion.
His humility, devotion to dedicating his life in serving the poorest of the poor and his love for humanity, he said, was inspired by Jesus Christ’s journey.
In the short span of time that he stayed in Naga City, he has touched the heart of many and earned him more friends -turned –benefactors, who too, want to share the same journey with him.
Conferment of honorary degree
UNEP Executive Vice President and VP for Finance Delicia A. Tibi, saw these commendable and exemplary deeds worthy of recognition.
On Sept. 16, UNEP President Remelisa G.A. Moraleda wrote a letter to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) addressed to lawyer Lily Freida C. Macabangun-Milla, CESO IV, requesting for the conferment of H.D. Honoris Causa to Fr. Ho Lung in recognition of his achievements in humanities, productive advocacies and philanthropic work, among others.
Subsequently, on Oct. 12, issued Resolution No. 574-2021, which approved the grant of the honorary degree.
Fr. Ho Lung’s awards and achievements
Fr. Ho Lung, was himself born to a poor family in Jamaica. Yet he received countless blessings as he was educated by the Franciscan sisters in Kingston and then by the Jesuits at St. George’s College.
After completing his studies, he joined the Society of Jesus and was ordained to priesthood on July 1971 as one of the Jesuit priests. Searching for more meaning in his life, he ended up founding the MOP in various parts of the world.
The MOP is a Roman Catholic monastic religious institute of brothers and sisters dedicated to “Joyful Service with Christ on the Cross.”
Some of his invaluable awards include the: 1982 Guinness Stout Effort Award given by Guinness Stout Effort in 1982; Outstanding Community Work from the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce in 1984; Humanitarian Award from the Chinese Culture Association in 1988; Plaque of Apostolic Blessing from the Holy Father in 1997; and Hall of Fame for Excellence awards from the Caribbean Development for the Arts and Culture Foundation in 1999, among others.
He was also a recipient of the 2008 International Humanitarian Award for Leadership in serving the poor and instilling hope for so many Jamaicans given by the American Friends of Jamaica in 2008; Order of Jamaica for outstanding service to the religion and care of the poor given by the Government of Jamaica in 2008; and similar awards from various international organizations over the past decade.
Fr. Ho Lung also received the New York Black Peoples Humanitarian Awards “Martin Luther King” in New York, USA in 2018 and the 2016 Nelson Mandela Human Rights Achievement Sunshine Award in October of the same year.
As an artist who loves to dance and sing, he also gained numerous actor awards since 1989: Best Music review (1989), Best Musical Review “Rise Up (1990) and Best Musical “Praise Him,” all from Jamaica Music Industry; Best Performance and Best Original Music (1994), and Best Music Review (1995) from Jamaica Music Award, among others.
The countless awards that Fr. Ho Lung received were clear manifestations of his endearing love and compassion to the poor and the needy.
“Let us continue to live like Jesus Christ, who helped the poor, the abandoned and the needy. Let us never lose hope in the goodness of every human being and let us have a joyful service with Christ on the Cross to serve the poorest of the poor.”