The Bishop of Pagadian City has said the diocese is “deeply saddened” by the Sunday night abduction of Columban Missionary Fr. Michael Sinnot. He appealed to the priest’s abductors to treat the “man of peace” respectfully and to release him soon.
Fr. Sinnott was taken at gunpoint by six men who stormed his home in Pagadian City on the island of Mindanao on Sunday. According to Reuters, witnesses said the priest was bundled into a van and later dragged to a boat.
No groups have claimed responsibility, though the region is home to radical Muslim groups such as Abu Sayyaf. The national police chief Jesus Verzosa said teams are scouring coastal areas in their hunt for the kidnappers.
In a statement read on Veritas 846 Radio on Monday morning, Bishop Emmanuel T. Cabajar, CSsR, said the priest had worked a long time in the southern island diocese and has been involved with disabled children through his Hangop Kabataan Foundation.
The priest has also worked with abused and abandoned children during his nearly fifty years in the country.
According to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Bishop Cabajar reported that the 78-year-old Irish missionary is not in the best of health and needs his daily dosage of medicine for a heart condition.
“It is urgent therefore that some arrangement be made to ensure that Fr. Mick gets his medicine,” he said, using the abducted priest’s nickname.
The bishop called on the people to pray for the priest’s safety. He also reported that he had not received any information on ransom demands.