21 October 2009

Bishop of Pagadian pleads for Father Sinnott

ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Bishop of Pagadian tells Fides: “We ask for prayers from all the faithful of the world and the assistance of men of good will,” for abducted missionary.

Pagadian (Agenzia Fides) - “We are concerned. We are desperately trying – we hope it will be in a day or two – contact with Fr. Sinnott's abductors. We urgently need to give them the medicine he needs. In the mean time, we are waiting and praying. We ask the entire Catholic community of the world to unite their prayers to ours. We know that the Holy Father is accompanying us and praying for Fr. Sinnott. We ask God's help and call for concrete contributions for all men of good will that can provide useful information.” This is what Agenzia Fides was told by Bishop Emmanuel Cabajar of Pagadian, where on October 11, 80-year-old Irish Missionary of Saint Columban, Fr. Michael Sinnott, was abducted.

The Bishop told Fides: “There has still been no official contact established with the kidnappers. Various contradictory information has been going around and is yet to be verified. I recently met with the Crisis Team of the government and the army, which is working on the case. They have allocated funds and personnel to make every effort to find the missionary. We are still in the study phase. We are hoping for a peaceful solution to the ordeal, without a military attack or bloodshed. The objective is trying to save Fr. Sinnott's life, along with the lives of his kidnappers. Every human life is sacred. We hope and pray for a negotiation that can lead to a peaceful solution.”

In the meantime, the community in the area is working together: “Everyone is united to our appeal for his freedom. On Sunday, October 18, we organized a silent march in prayer, which passed by the mission where Fr. Sinnott lived and through the streets of Pagadian. Christians and Muslims walked side-by-side, all pleading for the life of Fr. Sinnott, a priest who was well-loved and respected by all.” The Bishop concludes: “I would like to remind the abductors that he is a consecrated man, a man of peace, a man who worked at the service of the poor and that they may free him, in this Year for Priests declared by the Pope, who reminds us of the respect, dignity, and precious work of priests.” (PA) (Agenzia Fides 20/10/2009)

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