.- The Columban community in Manila has begun novena Masses to Our Lady of Remedies to pray for the immediate release of kidnapped Irish priest Fr. Michael Sinnott.
Fr. Sinnott was taken at gunpoint by six men who stormed his home in Pagadian City on the island of Mindanao on Oct. 11 According to Reuters, witnesses said the priest was bundled into a van and later dragged to a boat.
A videotape of the 79-year-old missionary shows him reading a prepared statement asking for a $2 million ransom, but the congregation reports it does not have the money.
Columban regional superior Fr. Patrick O’Donoghue reported that Masses for the intention of his safe release began at Our Lady of Remedies Parish began in Malate district on Monday to prepare for the saint’s feast on Nov. 15.
According to a report from the Catholic Bishops Conference of Philippines News (CBCP), Fr. O’Donoghue explained that Our Lady of Remedies is a patroness of those kidnapped and later sold as slaves.
“We hope Our Lady of Remedies would be able to help in the release of Fr. Mick, kidnapped a month and a day ago today,” he commented, voicing his trust in the Crisis Management Committee which is handling the priest’s kidnapping case.
The Bishop of Pagadian, Emmanuel Cabajar, is the Catholic Church’s representative on that committee and is trying to secure information on the missionary’s whereabouts.
Fr. O’Donoghue explained that he is still worried because there is no way of knowing whether Fr. Sinnott has received all the medicines necessary for his regular dose.
He also reiterated his congregation’s stand against paying any ransom to anyone.
If the congregation had the money, he explained, “even Fr. Mick would have it spent on charitable projects such as helping the typhoon victims in Luzon or attending to the specially-abled children in Pagadian City whom he serves very well.”