Irish bishop calls for release of kidnapped missionaries

Bishop Colm O'Reilly, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois and Chair of the Bishops' Commission for the Missions has made an urgent appeal for the release of three kidnapped missionaries, ahead of Mission Sunday, on 18 October.
Bishop O'Reilly said:  "During this month we remember all missionaries throughout the world but especially our 2,000 Irish born missionaries serving the poorest of the poor in 83 developing countries. 
"We remember especially at this time Father Michael Sinnott who was abducted last Sunday in the Philippines.  As a Columban priest, Father Sinnott dedicated his pastoral work to supporting the most vulnerable and I plead with those who have influence to expedite the release of this true servant of the people.
"Father Sinnott's courage and generosity in returning to active missionary service following major surgery, and already close to eighty years of age, has touched the hearts of Irish people as well as the many people to whom he ministers.  I commend the efforts made by the Bishops in the Philippines to obtain the release of Father Sinnott and I ask
them to do all that they can to achieve this.  I am also grateful for the support of Mr Richard O'Brien, Ireland's ambassador to Singapore who is accredited to the Philippines, for traveling to Manila to help secure the release of Fr Sinnott."
Bishop O'Reilly continued: "Last Sunday, throughout Ireland, special prayers were offered for the safe and speedy release of GOAL workers Ms Sharon Commins and Ms Hilda Kawuki, who were kidnapped in Sudan in July. Both have now spent 103 days in captivity.  At great risk to themselves, they worked as part of the GOAL team providing assistance to displaced people in Darfur.  I implore those who are involved to show compassion to Sharon and Hilda, and to their suffering families, by releasing them safely and quickly.
"Reach Out is the theme of Mission Sunday 2009 and it has taken on a new meaning inspired by the bravery of our Irish missionaries.  Our prayers, and the generosity of our contributions, greatly support their work while affirming and strengthening missionaries in these difficult times. Let Fr Sinnott, Sharon and Hilda and the many other Irish priests,
religious and lay volunteers, be the focus of our prayers for this Mission Sunday."
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