14 October 2009
Bishop Colm O’Reilly calls for immediate release of
Fr Michael Sinnott, Sharon Commins and Hilda Kawuki
– Special web feature on Mission Sunday 2009 now on www.catholicbishops.ie
“I plead with those who have influence to expedite the release of this true servant of the people” – Bishop Colm O’Reilly
This Sunday, 18 October 2009, the Catholic Church celebrates Mission Sunday. Mission Sunday is the worldwide day of prayer for the missions and provides us with an opportunity to focus on the central teaching of Christ to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).
Commenting ahead of Mission Sunday, Bishop Colm O’Reilly, Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois and Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for the Missions 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.”
Notes for Editors
- Each year Mission Sunday is celebrated throughout the world in order to raise awareness of the centrality of the Church’s call to proclaim the Gospel. ‘Reach Out’ is the 2009 theme for this Mission month of October.
- To mark Mission month a special web feature is now available on www.catholicbishops.ie. The feature comprises an interview with Bishop Colm O’Reilly, Chairman of the Bishops’ Commission for the Missions. The feature also includes Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for Mission Sunday on the theme The nations will walk in its light (Rev 21:24), and it also includes details of the ‘Mission Alive’ celebration that is taking place throughout October in Ireland.
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 087 233 7797