MANILA, Philippines?The Catholic Church said on Monday it would provide assistance to the family of three Filipinos set to be executed in China on Wednesday.
The forms of Church assistance would include stress debriefing for the family members and relatives to be left behind by the three Filipinos sentenced to death for drug smuggling, said the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Migrant and Itinerant People.
Ramon Credo, 42; Sally Villanueva, 32; and Elizabeth Batain, 38, are scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday. They were convicted on separate charges of smuggling 4,000 to 6,800 grams of heroin in 2008.
"The Church will do its best to help them, especially to provide stress debriefing to the family of the three overseas Filipino workers set to be executed in China," said Fr. Edwin Corros, executive secretary of the commission, over Church-run Radio Veritas on Monday.
He also stressed that the Church continued to hold Holy Masses across the country for the intention of the three convicted Filipino workers and the Chinese government, hoping the latter would still change its mind and grant another stay on the execution.
"Our Church continues to pray and hold Masses hoping that God may touch the hearts of the Chinese government and that they postpone the execution of our fellow Filipinos," added Corros.
The CBCP Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) and the Archdiocese of Manila Ministry for Migrants and their families have also set a prayer vigil for the three on Tuesday.
According to the CBCP-ECMI, the prayer vigil will be held at the Nuestra Senora de Guia Parish Shrine in Ermita, Manila, at 6 p.m. Tuesday for their intention. The rosary will also be recited afterwards, according to the commission.
Corros also assured the kin of the three Filipino workers that they could always seek out the Church and its clergy for problems, which the government cannot work out. This also applied to other distressed overseas Filipino workers, the priest said.
The commission has long been implementing several programs benefiting the family of Filipino migrants, "which we no longer need to broadcast in the media," added Corros.
On Sunday, Christian evangelist Eduardo Villanueva called on Filipinos and all Christian churches in the country to "pray as a nation" as time ticked toward the execution of the three Filipino workers in China.