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Candles in the Dark: The Authorized Biography of Fr. Richard Ho Lung and the Missionaries of the Poor [Hardcover]

Joseph Pearce
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Benedict Press (15 Mar 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1618903985
  • ISBN-13: 978-1618903983
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,302,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comment below 16 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This feedback box is really really irritating. If I don't want to leave any written feedback, which i do not want to, i should not be forced to do so. After today, I will not rate suppliers anymore - which is not my preferred option. Wake up, Amazon.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Inspirational Book! 17 May 2013
By scruggle - Published on Amazon.com
From the Reggae Priest to the Ghetto Priest, Father Richard Ho Lung's vocation has never been a boring one. He began his life in Jamaica, the son of two Chinese Buddhist immigrants. His parents later converted to Catholicism and, at the age of ten, Richard Ho Lung became a Catholic, too. He went on to become a priest, a list-topping pop music artist, and most importantly, the founder of the Missionaries of the Poor, a brotherhood that cares for the poorest of the poor in Jamaica and around the world. Fr. Ho Lung owns nothing yet his radiant smile proves that his work with the unwanted and unloved is all he needs to feel joyful in Christ.

Although Father Ho Lung has been referred to as a "male Mother Teresa", he considers his ministry different from the Missionaries of Charity. He wanted the brothers to build communities where the people cared for one another as opposed to Mother Teresa's ministry of caring for the sick and dying. He is also very adamant about evangelization, not shying away from telling people that they need to attend the Catholic Church.

Reading this book was tremendously inspirational to me. I have a special place in my heart for children with special needs so reading the stories about Father Ho Lung and the work he does with the handicapped children really touched my heart. Also, the humility of Father Ho Lung is inspirational as well. The Missionaries of the Poor own nothing. Everything they have is brought to them through donations and everything they buy goes to those that they serve. This is an amazing story.

Candles in the Dark by Joseph Pierce is the second book I've read by this author and I must admit that I plan to purchase more of his books in the future. He has a way with words where, as the reader, I am reading an intellectual piece of literature but feel as if I am reading a novel. The words flow and everything makes sense to me. I not only recommend Candles in the Dark but I recommend that you check out other work by this author as well.

I received this book free of charge from St Benedict Press in exchange for my honest review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Candles in the Dark: The Authorized Biography of Fr. Richard Ho Lung and the Missionaries of the Poor, by Joseph Pearce Saint B 16 Aug 2013
By Don Mulcare - Published on Amazon.com
Joseph Pearce writes that Father Richard Ho Lung, known as the "Reggae Priest," the Ghetto Priest," the "Dancing Priest" and the "Renegade Priest" would rather be known as a "practicing priest," setting a high standard for all clergy. Pearce suggests that Fr. Ho Lung may be the happiest man in the world. What is his secret? Pearce recalls his search for an answer during his visit to Bethlehem, a residence for severely disabled children: My...

...eyes met the twisted and tangled bodies of broken childhood. There, in rows of cribs, one after another, children of all ages, from babies to teenagers, wriggled and squirmed in various degrees of helplessness. To my uninitiated gaze, it looked almost infernal, a place where the triumph of suffering seemed to call for the abandonment of all hope.... As I looked in stunned silence at the unwanted and abandoned dregs of humanity, bent by the brokenness of body or brain... I approached a girl of around eight-years-old.... As I took her hand, she returned my forced smile with a radiance of her own that transfigured the situation and exorcised the demons from my hardened heart.... Looking up at me was the radiant face of the child Jesus.... She had returned my pathetic effort with a smile that beamed with the light and delight of heaven itself.

Pearce explains that Fr. Ho Lung and his Brothers derive their joy from their labors because they are more than social workers caring for the human needs of the poor. They are "servants of the broken body of Christ. Their work with the poor is not merely a job but a labor of love. They are laying down their lives for their friends."

Born to Chinese Buddhist immigrants to Jamaica, young Richard Ho Lung had the advantage of not knowing he was poor. He lived without luxuries and even necessities, but his family gave and received assistance from their neighbors. Communal interdependence became a model for Father Ho Lung's later efforts to relieve poverty in Jamaica. Young Richard's only disappointments came when he witnessed his neighbors attempt to break free of their economic limits through self-destructive behavior: prostitution or robbery.

Franciscan Missionary sisters from New York served Richard his elementary education, spiced with music and evangelization. Richard (and eventually his family) accepted baptism. Buddhism helped Richard appreciate nature's beauty. In Christianity he responded strongly to God as a person that he could embrace in the Body of Christ. Richard failed the entrance exam for the prestigious Saint George' College. Fortunately, the Jesuit headmaster noticed something special in Richard, admitted him and guided him over the next four years. Life was good, but hurdles awaited Richard.

He attended the Jesuit's New England house of formation during the spiritually turbulent 1960s. Fr. Martin D'Arcy, the famous English Jesuit warned his American confreres, "The whole thing is going to fall apart because we are too rich." His warning proved prophetic. In 1983, a Jamaican newspaper reporter asked Fr. Ho Lung why the Jesuits in Jamaica had not a single vocation since he entered in 1959. He responded: "They have not yet come to grips with identifying themselves with the poor- at least not the American ones.... This mood (of self-centeredness), I think, prevents young men from choosing the priesthood." Fr. Ho Lung left the Jesuits to establish the Brothers of the Poor, now called the Missionaries of the Poor.

Upon his return to Kingston, Jamaica he introduced reggae to the liturgy, not without controversy. Joseph Pearce recognized Fr. Ho Lung's use of "traditional Caribbean music and rhythm" as an application an age old Jesuit missionary method of communicating with people in their own medium. Reggae brought the young to church, retreats and to personal prayer. The recording of "Sinner," by "Fr. Ho Lung and Friends" originally intended as a fund-raiser for missionary projects topped the charts in the Caribbean earning Fr. Ho Lung fame as "The Reggae Priest." Over time Fr. Ho Lung wrote dozens of religious songs, shows and operas in collaboration with his musical directors, Jon and Wynton Williams, the later a Baptist minister.

Civic and business groups, including the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs invited "The Reggae Priest" to speak, but Fr. Ho Lung, "The Ghetto Priest," gave the presentations. He criticized the Jamaican government's staffing of social service facilities with political insiders rather than trained and caring workers. His descriptions of these grotesque environments embarrassed the government, but did stir the generosity of the private sector. He also challenged the Jamaican government's willingness to accept foreign aid that promoted abortion as a solution to social problems. In response to the substantial needs in Jamaica, Fr. Ho Lung raised funds through concerts around the world, using the revenue to construct homes for the homeless, the deserted and the vulnerable. The Missionaries of the Poor thrived as it recruited from abroad to staff these homes and similar establishments in other countries.

Joseph Pearce allows Fr. Ho Lung to speak freely, challenging all Christians to embrace the cross and through it to find happiness. The reader is encouraged to appreciate her or his own existence and the beauty of creation, while recognizing the injurious spread of hedonism, materialism and convenience that lead to personal misery; physical and spiritual death. I strongly recommend this book to anyone in search of happiness, to those listening for their vocation in life and for anyone seeking to light candles in the darkness.

(© 2013 Donald J. Mulcare)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous story, and one not nearly enough known 5 July 2013
By W. K. Aiken - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fr. Lung Ho's commitment to "that which you do for these, the least of Mine" is an inspiration that goes beyond congratulatory. For those of us who seek a higher calling, perhaps "up" is not the way to look. To humble one's self before the needs of society's rejected, dismissed and outcast is to follow Christ in His fullest majesty. Fr. Lung Ho, by abandoning the world and its values by following Christ, shows us all the way to infinite riches of a much more substantial nature than that which rusts and is eaten by moths.

It is not surprising that the enemy seems to go to great lengths to keep Fr. Lung Ho's story widely unknown. Simply getting to know this amazing man will do great things in the ongoing spiritual war.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and Inspiring book 23 July 2013
By Katrina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was most inspired by reading the life of Fr. Ho Lung, and highly recommended this book. We all need to be conscious of the plight of the poor in our own country and in the world and it was an amazing story of this 'Reggae' priest, excellent song writer and dancer, a Chinese Buddhist by birth, becomes a Catholic priest and goes out into the slums to make a big difference in many lives.
5.0 out of 5 stars what its all about 29 Jun 2014
By Susan V. Hyson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a book of paradox. How can the starving, disabled,forgotten people of the world, bring such contentment and joy to those who seek to help them? This book will tell you how. It is a gripping page turner, and a story that steals your heart. Bravo!
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