A group from St. Ignatius Catholic Church recently spent an unusual weekend break in Jamaica. Billed as a retreat in the mountains above Kingston, the group also had the opportunity to care for the destitute in the ghettos.
The retreat was led by well-known Chinese Jamaican priest, Reverend Father Richard Ho Lung, who has been called the male version of Mother Teresa. He heads Missionaries of the Poor, whose work is to house and look after the homeless, sick and disabled, whether young, adult or elderly.
To help with this work, Father Ho Lung recruits Brothers from all over the world to live in poverty and run the centres for men, women, the dying and children. They occasionally give concerts to raise funds, but their work relies primarily on donations and volunteers.
Class 4D of Cayman Prep is adopting M.O.P as their class project for the year. The students are bringing in clothes, toys and books to give to the children’s home, Bethlehem House.
These children are all physically and/or mentally disabled to varying degrees, but are aware and very grateful for the care given them by the Brothers and the volunteers. The volunteers join the Brothers in playing with the children, feeding them, showering them and trying to make them feel loved.
Unable to say very much, the children show their appreciation for this attention by their wide smiles and bright eyes. A few strokes on the face or hair and a little tickle bring forth gurgles of delight.
However, supplies are short, and there are not always enough nappies or wipes to go around. With around 40 children in Bethlehem House, they would also benefit greatly from additional volunteers.
One visitor from Cayman said, ‘As I walked away from each child, they would clutch my arm and start moaning to stop me leaving. This was the hardest part, knowing that they would have to just lie there, waiting for the next Brother or volunteer to pass by.’
The Missionaries of the Poor is grateful for donations of time, money, clothes, medicines, and toys. To find out more about the organization, visit www.missionariesofthepoor.org or call Jennison Nunez at 946-0300.