We hear about the appeals for the release of Columban Priest Fr Michael Sinnott who was kidnapped in South Philippines.

[display_podcast] This podcast made available by Vatican Radio

This podcast features Melo Acuna, editor of the News agency for the Philippines Catholic Bishops Conference.

Fr_Michael_Sinnott

Fr Michael Sinnott SSC

source – www.columban.com

We request your prayers for the safe return of Fr Michael.

Born in December 1929, Fr Michael is a native of Clonard Co. Wexford . He was ordained in 1954 and following studies in Rome, assigned to Mindanao, Philippines in 1957. He served in Mindanao until 1966 and was then assigned to the theology staff in Dalgan Park, Navan.

He returned to Philippines in 1976 where he has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative roles.

Since 1998 he has been involved with The Centre and School for Special Children which he established.

The Bishop of Pagadian Manny Cabajar and Columban Regional Director Fr Pat ODonoghue are in touch with local authorities following up the kidnapping.

We request your prayers for the safe return of Fr Michael.

The Hangop Kabataan Community Based Rehabilitation Programme for Children with Disabilities was founded in 1998 by Fr Michael.

Hangop Kabatataan means reaching out to children and the programme was a response to the lack of educational and rehabilitation facilities for children with disabilities in Pagadian area.

The centre caters to around sixty children who attend daily. About one third of these have been diagnosed as autistic, while the rest have other mental and physical disabilities.

In addition there is an outreach programme which visits around twenty children in their homes.

From the begininning the underlying philosophy of the school has been that of empowerment. Before the programme began Fr Michael had noticed that many children with disabilities were kept at home and lacked any opportunity to develop skills and any level of independence:

The parents did not know what to do with their children, most were confined to their homes, and the parents from some false sense of guilt were over compensating feeding, washing and helping then with their toilet needs.

For me the biggest improvement in the children was the development of their confidence and I think of their own dignity and importance. I think the atmosphere of support, love and concern in the centre has given them a greater realisation and sense of their own dignity as persons, in so far they can understand this.

The school is non-denominational, and is staffed by 5 teachers, a secretary, bookkeeper and a driver. It has also one volunteer-teacher, lay missionary and a livelihood teacher.