17 October 2009

Press Statement on kidnapping of Fr Michael Sinnott

Fr Patrick O'Donoghue


This statement was issued by Fr Patrick O'Donoghue, Regional Director of the Columbans in the Philippines, at around 5pm (Philippine time), Friday 16 October 2009.

Some press and other media reports today are saying that the kidnappers of Fr.Michael Sinnott have made contact with his Columban Superiors. One report went so far as to say that this contact was by way of a 'phone call, made yesterdayby an emissary of the kidnappers'. Ifind these reports disturbing and distressing. They are inaccurate and I cannot understand why they would be publishedwithout verification.

May I clarify that Ipersonally have had no contact with anyone claiming to be one of the kidnappers or representing them. Nor am I aware ofany member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban having contact with the kidnappers or their representatives.

Together with the Bishop, clergy and people of Pagadian, all who love Fr. Mick and all those who are concerned for his welfare, we are anxiously waiting forsome news of Fr. Mick’s health and situation. At 79, Fr Mick needs urgentmedical attention.

The Bishop of Pagadian, Msgr.Cabajar is the liaison person between the Church and the Provincial Task Forceset up to ensure the safety and to obtain the safe release of Fr. Mick. His role is not that of 'negotiator'.

I realize that these reports may be published in good faith and in the hope that Fr. Mick’s release is imminent. But inaccurate statements,from whatever source, can cause confusion among the public and further anxiety and pain to those close to him. They can also be unhelpful to the efforts to obtain his speedy and safe release. We would, therefore, like to appeal for understanding from everyone to be very cautious and discreet about issuing public pronouncements.

May the God of Peace bless all our efforts to bring Fr. Mick safely home.

Rev. Patrick O’Donoghue
Regional Director
Philippine Region
Missionary Society of St.Columban

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