The Catholic Church in Ireland is going through a very dark period at the moment. I hope and pray that the people there will see the true face of the priesthood in Fr Michael Sinnott who has lived his vocation with integrity and courage for the last 55 years. The Irish media, which is rightly highly critical of the lack of leadership - and worse - by Irish bishops, as shown in the Dublin Report, published on 26 November, has been very sympatico to Fr Michael Sinnott during his captivity. I wish my confrere a restful visit while at home with his family and friends.
CathNews Asia and CathNews Philippines carry the same story today under different headlines: Sinnott flies home to Ireland and Rescued priest flies home to Ireland. (Both are a service of UCANews). The source of the news is the Philippine Daily Inquirer where it is under the byline of Dona Pazzibugan.
Fr Sinnott being greeted after Mass in Malate Church, Manila. Fr Pat O'Donoghue in background
By Dona PazzibuganPhilippine Daily InquirerFirst Posted 17:25:00 12/03/2009
MANILA, Philippines -- Irish missionary Fr. Michael Sinnott, who was held captive by still unidentified armed men in Mindanao for 31 days, left for his homeland early Thursday.
“I feel fine going back home and looking forward to the weather (in Ireland). It’s windy, wet and cold,” the 79-year-old Columban missionary was quoted as saying by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines news website shortly before he boarded his 1:05 a.m. flight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Full story here.
Yahoo News Philippines also carries the story: Rescued Irish priest Sinnott flies home. Their source is CBCPNews: Fr. Sinnott leaves for Ireland:
MANILA, Dec. 3, 2009— The 79-year old Irish missionary who was recently held by unidentified armed men in southern Philippines for 31 days left at 1:05 AM today on board Etihad Flight EY 421 for a five-week vacation in Ireland by way of Abu Dhabi.
Interviewed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport past midnight today, Fr. Sinnott said “I feel find going back home and looking forward to the weather, it’s windy, wet and cold.”
He said he will visit Ireland first visiting Pagadian City and will be back on the 15th of January and proceed to Pagadian. While he was scheduled to return to Pagadian late last month, he was advised by his attending physician to remain in Manila to recover from the one-month stay in the boondocks of Mindanao.
“I wish my friends in Pagadian will have peace and no more kidnapping,” Fr. Sinnott said when asked of his Christmas wish for his closest friends in southern Philippines which he also considers home.
He said expects his relatives back home to ask him about his experience being a kidnap victim and hopes to share about his mission in Mindanao.
“I hope the Filipino people and the Catholic church in the Philippines will be able to obtain peace in Mindanao without any bloodshed we hope the elections will be successful and we’ll have an honest president,” Fr. Sinnott said when asked of his Christmas wish for the Filipino people.
Fr. Sinnott will celebrate his 80th birthday in Ireland during the second week of December (17th. He will observe the 55th anniversary of his ordination on the 21st).
Fr. Patrick O’Donoghue, regional director of the Missionary Society of St. Columban accompanied Fr. Sinnott during the trip. (Melo M. Acuna)