October 28, 2009

Day of Prayer and Fasting

Today, the Columban community was called together in a special day of prayer and fasting for Fr. Mick Sinnott. We met with our priest coworkers in the chapel "San Columbano" for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It was a special time and we hope that Fr. Sinnott can feel the presence of God wherever he is, and also that he can feel the presence of his friends around the world who are praying for his safety. For those of you interested in joining us, we've printed a prayer below that you can say at home. The original is in Spanish, and an English version follows.

Oración para la liberación del padre Michael Sinnott

(Ministerio de Campo del colegio San Columbano - Ciudad de Pagadian)

En tiempos de sombras y preocupaciones,
te pedimos, Señor,
que mantengas al Padre Mick Sinnott libre de daños.
Guíalo en cada minuto de su camino
y en cada minuto de su viaje.
Que en la luz de la mañana, oh Dios,
pueda tener siempre una visión de tu imagen
en lo profundo de su ser,
que los hilos de la gloria se tejan en su conciencia.
Que él vea el misterio del amor modelado en tu imagen,
más profundo que el saber, más duradero que el tiempo.
También oramos por los secuestradores.
Despierta la semilla de tu bondad divina en sus corazones.
Hazles comprender que el dolor que pueden causar al P. Mick
es también un dolor que causan a la humanidad.
Hazlos compasivo a las necesidades de P. Mick
y que le den su pronta liberación.
Te lo pedimos por Cristo nuestro Señor. Amén.

P. Michael Sinnott es un sacerdote Columbano de 79 años que fue secuestrado el Domingo, 11 de Octubre, 2009 en la Casa Columbana de Pagadian (Mindanao - Filipinas) por hombres armados cuando hacía su caminata por el jardín.


Prayer for the liberation of Fr. Michael Sinnott

In times of shadows and worries,
we ask you Lord,
that you keep Fr. Mick Sinnott free from harm.
Guide him in every minute of his path
and in every moment of his voyage.
That in the light of day, oh God,
he is always able to have a vision of your image
in the deepest part of his being,
that the threads of glory knit themselves in his conscience.
That he sees the mystery of love modeled in your image,
deeper than knowing, more lasting than time.
We also pray for the kidnappers.
Wake up the seed of your divine kindness in their hearts.
Help them to understand that the pain that they cause Fr. Mick is also pain that they cause humanity.
Make them compassionate to the needs of Fr. Mick
and may they quickly set him free.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr. Michael Sinnot is a 79 year old Columban priest who was kidnapped by armed men on Sunday, October 11, 2009 from the Columban house in Pagadian (Mindanao - Philippinnes) while he was walking in the garden.

October 27, 2009

16 Days in Captivity

This is a translation of the testimony given by Karleen B. La Fuente at the Prayer Rally held in Pagadian City on Oct 24, 2009. Karleen is a beneficiary of Hangop Kabataan founded by Fr. Mick Sinnott who was abducted October 11, 2009 in his Columban House in Pagadian City. (The original version is written in the Visayan language.)

My name is Karleen B. La Fuente. I am 14 years old and am a second year high school student and one of the beneficiaries of Hangop Kabataan Foundation founded and headed by Father Mick Sinnott.

I was born a Special Child. My two legs are deformed. From one year old until I reached five, I’m using my knees in order to walk. I was so glad to be enrolled in Hangop Kabataan Foundation. My classmates who are deaf are the ones who will carry me from our house to our school bus, and carry me again until we reached our room. They brought me home after class.

They do that each time my sister, who is also my caretaker, is not available.

I am very very thankful to Fr. Mick Sinnott. If not for him – maybe until now – I still would be walking on my knees. It was Fr. Mick who facilitated my Medical check-up in an Orthopedic Center in Davao City. He wanted me to have artificial legs or prosthesis. The doctors’ recommended having an orthopedic operation to gain equal height for my legs. Fr. Mick unreservedly agreed with the advice and immediately, together with the staff of the foundation, facilitated again for the expenses of operation on my legs. For three months, I stayed at Davao General Hospital and another three months at Davao Jubilee Rehabilitation Hospital who made my prosthesis or my artificial legs.

Fr. Mick helped me without condition and without reservation, so that now I can almost walk normally wearing my artificial legs. As I grow older, my prosthesis has to be re-adjusted and repaired, and as always, Fr. Mick is always at my side, helping me with whatever is needed. My thankfulness to Fr. Mick is very immense. I am very very thankful to Fr. Mick for helping me throughout until now.

And now, from my heart, I beg those who took Fr. Mick Sinnott – please, please have mercy on him. Have mercy on the Special Children, the deaf, the mute, the mentally and physically challenged children under his care – we are hoping that he will come back home to us. Please free Fr. Mick because we love him so much – especially because Fr. Mick is not in good health. Please have mercy on him and have mercy on us, we need him so much! Would there still be somebody like Fr. Mick Sinnott who would love and care for us Special Children? Please, I beg again, have mercy on us, free Fr. Mick Sinnott.

October 18, 2009

Family Week

The Catholic Church here has "Family Week" every year in October. They send out pamphlets to all the parishes that include daily prayers and reflections for families to share each day of the week. It's a nice way to reconnect and get to know your loved ones even better. Our little family here decided to share in the custom and we had our first reflection night yesterday. We shared on the theme "Nuestra Historia de Fe" or "Our Faith History." We all shared the experience of first learning about God from our parents. David heard about Noah's Ark and other interesting Bible stories from an early age. Anna and her sister (Joanna) remember going to sleep at night, with their mom at their side, reciting prayers and asking God to bless and protect their loved ones. It was in these small moments that our faith began to develop. We hope that we instill the same simple, strong love of God in our families that our parents did for us. Thanks Mom and Dad for sharing God with us so early on.

October 16, 2009

Fr. Michael Sinnott

I've reprinted an article here from Fr. Shay Cullen, who worked with Fr. Sinnott in the Philippines. It talks a little about the kind of work he has been involved in. Please continue to pray for his safe return. So far, the Columbans have not been contacted by the kidnappers and do not know who is responsible.

The Abduction of Father Michael Sinnott
(Fr. Shay's columns are published in The Manila Times,
in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

Father Michael is a true dedicated self-sacrificing missionary. This is an appeal to all people concerned with the kidnapping of Father Michael Sinnott, my former professor at the Columban Seminary in Navan, Ireland and co-missionary here in the Philippines to pray for his safe release and return to his mission and the people he served for so many years.

He was taken as hostage by four men as he took an evening stroll in the garden of the Columban Missionary House in Pagadian last Sunday, 11th October 2009. Four men barged in, grabbed him and bundled him into a van that was outside the gates. Later it was found burnt and Father Michael was seen being taken away in a boat across the bay. No one has taken responsibility for the abduction.

Father Michael has a heart condition and needs his daily medication. At his age, 78, he will be greatly challenged by this terrible ordeal. We appeal to the people who abducted him to respect his dignity and medical condition, treat him with kindness and not harshly, and provide him with his medication. There is a wide search going on all across Northern Mindanao as I write this and we can only hope and pray he will be released unharmed. The outpouring of love and respect for him by the people all over the Philippines is overwhelming.

He is a totally committed missionary, a man of the people of the Philippines and especially those of the Pagadian area in North Mindanao. He has given his life faithfully and without complaint for over 45 years to the people of all faiths without distinction or discrimination, but with a love that has been shared equally to all.

He gave himself as a missionary to uplift the poor to work for justice and change this world to better the lives of the poor and to save the children from abuse and exploitation. He has a home for children with special needs that need him to return safely. In this apostolate, working for human rights and the dignity of the person, we can only hope that his rights and dignity will be respected too. Michael never hesitated to help anyone, least of all the victims of neglect and abuse.

So too the poor, deprived, abused and those crying for justice, he has a heart for them all. He has been their hope and pastor. He is a quite and gently spoken man but his words have always been wise and inspiring and encouraging to those struggling for justice and equality. He is an advocate of peace and non-violence and has been working for social reconciliation for all of his Missionary life.

He is a symbol of all that is good and decent in this world, but now he is taken as a hostage. Columban and many thousands of Missionaries, men and women, ordained and laity have given their lives over the past centuries to make real a new way of living together - the Kingdom of justice and love, truth and equality, respect and freedom. We pray and hope and plea that he will not be harmed. We appeal that his captors will respect his life's dedication and commitment to the dignity and rights of the Muslim and Christian people alike. I appeal to the authorities to do nothing violent if he is located with his captors but to negotiate a peaceful release and return.

These are the hazards and challenges that we missionaries face in this difficult and challenging life. In difficult missions, in order to serve the most needy the sick and the oppressed, we have to face the threats of people who oppose the work for justice and freedom. Being a missionary is the most challenging call these days. We all know here that we could face the same danger and ordeal and have to accept it with fortitude and strength of mind and heart and trust in God. The Gospel is the path to a more meaningful life, to care and help others without reward is the heart of it. Father Michael worked for such a world and may he come through this hardship and continue his life of service to those in greatest need. END

Visit www.preda.org for more related articles.

October 13, 2009

Prayer Urgently Needed!

An 80 year old Columban priest was recently kidnapped in the Philipines. Please pray for his safe return home. We've attached an article here that is from the Columban Mission Newsletter in the US.

October 12, 2009
Fr. Michael Sinnott Kidnapped in the Philippines

Columban Father Michael Sinnott was kidnapped October 11, 2009 around 7:30 p.m. (local time) from outside his home in Pagadian City, Province of Zamboanga del Sur, Mindanao, as he was taking an evening stroll in the garden.

As Church workers were closing the gate to the compound in the Columban house in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur, on October 11 2009, a man pushed his way through saying he wanted to talk to a priest. Then three or four heavily armed men appeared, forcing the gate and dragging 79-year-old Irish Columban Father Michael Sinnott from the garden into a white pickup truck, before speeding off.

The vehicle was later found abandoned and torched in the nearby beachside area of Santa Lucia. Fishermen told police that they saw the group boarding a small motor boat heading off in the direction of the town of Tukuran.

A statement from the regional director for the Columbans in Manila, Father Pat O’Donoghue, said that police and other law enforcement agencies had been called. Patrol boats were mobilized, but found nothing.

Father O’Donoghue said that no motive has been given for the kidnapping and, as of 11:00p.m. on October 11, there had been no contact. He added that he is worried for the safety of the aging priest, as he underwent quadruple bypass surgery in Cebu in 2005 and has been under medication ever since. “One of my greatest concerns for him is that he does not have his medication with him, which he needs,” he disclosed.

Father Sinnott was ordained on December 21, 1954, after studies in Ireland and the United States.
Father Sinnott has worked in Mindanao since he arrived in The Philippines in 1957, except for a period in Ireland as rector of the Columban seminary, a short stint studying liturgy in Paris, and a few years in Manila as the vice director of the Philippine region.

Father O’Donoghue is asking people to pray for his safe return.