Bishop Emmanuel Treveno Cabajar of Pagadian in the Philippines is urging that direct contact be made with the kidnappers of the elderly Irish missionary priest, Father Michael Sinnott, as “he urgently needs his medication.”
Fr. Sinnott,78, 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 Colombian priest was bundled into a van and later dragged to a boat.
The priest is known to have a heart condition and needs a daily dosage of medicine.
In an interview with the Fides news agency, Bishop Cabajar called on “the entire Catholic community of the world to join in our prayers.”
“We also know that the Holy Father is close to us and is praying for Father Sinnott. We implore God’s help and we ask for the concrete contribution of all people of good will who can provide useful information,” he added.
“We are currently still in search-and-rescue mode,” the bishop stated. “We hope for a peaceful solution to the problem, which does not require military action or the shedding of blood.”
“The objective should be to save the life of Father Sinnott and also those of his kidnappers. Every human life is sacred. We pray and hope that negotiations begin soon and will lead to a peaceful solution,” the bishop said.
He reminded the kidnappers that Father Sinnott is “a consecrated man, a man of peace, a man who works at the service of the poor.” He also noted that the Pope has declared this year to be the Year for Priests and all are called to “respect the dignity and precious work of priests.”
On October 18 in the town of Pagadian, where Father Sinnott was kidnapped, Catholics and Muslims joined together with people of other faiths to pray for “the release and salvation of Father Sinnott, a beloved pastor respected by all.”