20 October 2009

Prayer rally for Fr Michael Sinnott

Deaf pupils from a school Father Michael Sinnott established for children with special needs appeal for his releas

By Auring Luceño

Auring is a Columban lay missionary from Pagadian who has served in Pakistan and also in leadership positions internationally and in the Philippines.

A prayer rally was organized yesterday, October 18, 2009, by the Hangop Kabataan. Many many concerned individuals from the different faith groups, NGOs and media people in Pagadian City participated. The march took off from the Hangop Kabataan center and finished by the seawall area where Fr. Mick was actually loaded into a pumpboat on the night he was abducted by armed men. Streamers and placards appealing for the safe release of Fr. Mick were bannered by the marchers while praying the holy rosary.

A short program followed by the seawall area in Sta. Lucia after the march. An invocation was rendered by a group of older deaf students of Hangop Kabataan. It was followed by the sharing of individual testimonies and appeals from the parents of some of the Hangop Kabataan students. Many of them spoke of their personal experience of Fr. Mick’s selflessness, and his love and dedication to the children and adults with special needs. Some of the parents introduced their children as they spoke of how they have finally found expression and direction in their lives having been helped by the Hangop Kabataan which was founded by Fr. Mick.

Muslim men and women take part in the
prayer rally in Pagadian City

Bai Macaumbang Ca Tong, a Muslim princess of Pagadian and an active leader of the Muslim women made her appeal to the abductors. Likewise, she spoke of how Pagadian was then in the past, when Pagadianons* lived so simply and peacefully together: Muslims, Christians and the Subanens. She expressed her grief and pain over the present peace and order situation of the city especially of the abduction of someone like Fr. Mick who undoubtedly loved Pagadian and chose to live and serve the Pagadianons. It was another very moving moment when all the Hangop Kabataan students offered an interpretative number expressing their prayer and plea for the safe and immediate release of Fr. Mick. This was followed by the reading of the Appeals/Statements on the abduction of Fr. Mick from Msgr. Emmanuel Cabajar of the Catholic Diocese of Pagadian, from Sheik Esmael Calalagan of the Association for Islamic Development, from the Umma Fi Salam, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society. Before the program closed with the singing of the song “Heal our Land”, everyone was invited to the prayer vigil for the release of Fr. Mick held every 5 o’clock in the afternoon at the San Jose Parish church.

* Somebody who comes from Pagadian.

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