CRS Volunteer Who Died During Papal Visit Laid to Rest

Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto Presides Over Funeral Mass for Kristel Padasas

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Kristel Mae Padasas, the young volunteer who passed away in a tragic accident following Pope Francis’ visit to Tacloban during his Apostolic Journey to the Philippines, was laid to rest yesterday.

Family and friends paid their final respects to the Catholic Relief Services volunteer during a funeral Mass at Santo Niño Parish Church in Taguig City. Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, presided over the Mass to demonstrate the Holy See’s solidarity with Padasas family.

According to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Archbishop Pinto praised the young volunteer’s service to the Church, particularly the poor. Padasas assisted in humanitarian efforts in Tacloban City, the area devastated most by super Typhoon Haiyan.

Padasas, the Archbishop said, “followed the example of Mary, who went in haste to be with her cousin Elizabeth.”

“By the prayers of the Church, your journey – at this moment painful for us – will finish at the gates of the heavenly home where the merciful father already awaits you.”

On January 17th, the 27 year old Filipino native was struck when strong winds caused a scaffold holding a speaker to collapse. The Holy Father had departed shortly before the accident due to a tropical storm approaching the area.

Prayers for Kristel

Archbishop Pinto said that upon learning of Padasas’ death when arriving to Manila, Pope Francis “spent [a] long time in prayer” in the chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila.

“In the Eucharistic presence of Jesus, he remembered Kristel Mae Padasas, innocent victim of the collapse of [a] structure, toppled by the wind; he thought of her parents ,Paolino and Judy, and he invoked the love of Christ crucified on a family left without its only child,” he said.

The day after Padasas’ tragic death, during a youth meeting at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the Pope led over 300,000 in a moment of silence and praying a Hail Mary for her repose.

“She was 27 years old, young like yourselves. She worked for Catholic Relief Services. She was a volunteer. I would like all of you, young like her, to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we pray to our Mom, Mother Mary in Heaven.”

Following the meeting with youth, Pope Francis returned to the Apostolic Nunciature where he met privately with the father and cousin of the deceased volunteer.

In a statement sent that day by Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, the CEO of Canada’s Salt and Light network and English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office, the meeting was an emotional moment for all.

“It was a very moving meeting and Cardinal Tagle served as interpreter. On the table were two beautiful photos of the young woman as a young girl with her parents. The father said that he was shocked but he was consoled to know that his daughter had been able to prepare the event that allowed so many people in Tacloban to meet with the Pope,” the statement read.

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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