OMI Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation Effort
Irish Columban Priest Kidnapped in Southern Philippines

Please contact the State Department and Embassy of the Philippines

October 13, 2009

Fr. Mick Sinnott, a member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban (the Columban Fathers) and a friend of the Oblates in the Philippines, was kidnapped on Sunday, Oct. 11. Our colleagues with the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach are asking for your prayers and action.
Below is draft letter – please use it as the basis of a letter to send to both Philippine Ambassador Willy C. Gaa and to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, requesting that peaceful measures be taken to negotiate for Fr. Sinnott’s safe release. Please respond as soon as you are able, as Fr. Sinnott, 80 years of age, has a heart condition and, as far as is known, is without his medication.
According to the Columban Fathers, actions are being taken in the Philippines. Bishop Manny Cabajar has attended a crisis meeting of various provincial/government/police personnel and was informed that an intensive search is underway.
From the Irish Times: “Michael Sinnott … was taken away on a speed boat after six gunmen entered the Columban House in Pagadian city in the province of Zamboanga del Sur … and dragged him away, according to reports quoting local police. The truck used to transport him to the harbour was later found abandoned and burned near Columban House.

“No group has claimed responsibility, but suspicion may fall on Muslim separatists who have been fighting for their own homeland in the southern Philippines for decades and have in the past kidnapped foreigners, including priests.

“In a statement posted on the Irish website of the  Columban Missionaries, the order said Fr. Sinnott was taking an evening stroll in his garden when he was taken by the gunmen.

“Fr. Sinnott was ordained in 1954 and was assigned to Mindanao in the southern Philippines in 1957 following his studies in Rome. He served in Mindanao until 1966 before being assigned to the theology staff in [Ireland]. He returned to the Philippines in 1976 where he has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative roles. Since 1998 he has been involved with a school for children with special needs.”

Draft Letter to:
Ambassador Willy C. Gaa
Fax: 202-467-9417
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Fax: 202-647-8947
Email form on State Department website
Dear [Ambassador Gaa] [Secretary Clinton],
It is with deep concern that I write to inform you of the recent abduction of an Irish missionary priest, Columban Fr. Michael Sinnott, in Pagadian, Philippines. According to reports, he was kidnapped from his home on October 11 at approximately 7:20 p.m. local time. Fr. Sinnott was taken away in a vehicle by 4-6 men, which was then abandoned and burned. It is believed that the abductors then took Fr. Sinnott to a speed boat and fled into Pagadian Bay.
I am writing as a person deeply concerned for Fr. Sinnott’s safety. Columban missionaries are deeply committed to the well-being of the people of the Philippines. Fr. Sinnott has lived for 40 years in the Philippines and one of his most recent apostolates has been in a school for children and young adults with special needs in Pagadian City.
We ask that all peaceful measures be taken to locate Fr. Sinnott and negotiate his release.
Thank you for your attention to this most urgent request.
Yours sincerely,

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