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Pope Francis meets father of volunteer who died after Leyte Mass

Voltaire Tupaz
(UPDATED) Kristel Padasas’ father is still in shock from the death of his daughter when he talks to Pope Francis

MANILA, Philippines  (UPDATED) – He is grieving, but Paulino Padasas brought happy memories of his late daughter when he met with Pope Francis on Sunday, January 18. 

The Pope met with the father of Kristel Mae Padasas, the 27-year-old aid worker who died after Saturday’s papal Mass in Tacloban City. (READ: Yolanda aid worker dies after Tacloban airport scaffolding collapses)

The intimate meeting, where the Pope condoled with Padasas’s father, happened at the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila on Sunday, January 18, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said in a report.

Padasas’s father was still in shock from the death of his daughter when he talked to Pope Francis, according to Lombardi. Showing two childhood pictures of Kristel to the Pope, the older Padasas said he felt consoled to know his daughter helped prepare for the papal Mass for disaster victims, Lombardi shared.

“I have accepted. I have resigned to the fact that my daughter is no longer with me. I rejoice she died serving the people,” Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle quoted Padasas as saying. Tagle served as interpreter during the private meeting that reduced the Pope to silence.

“The Holy Father was searching for words. How do you console a father who lost his only child?” Tagle said, recalling how Pope Francis reacted when he met Padasas. (READ: Grieving father asks Pope Francis: Why did God take my only child?)

Pope Francis himself prayed for Kristel at the beginning of his message during his first encounter with the Filipino youth at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila. 

'HER NAME IS KRISTEL'. Pope Francis himself prays for Kristel Mae Padasas, who died after a scaffolding by the stage where he said Mass for disaster survivors in Leyte collapsed on Saturday, January 17. Photo by CNS/CRS

“I would like all of you, young like her, to pray in a moment of silence with me,” the Pope said, describing the incident as “sad news.”

“Let us also pray for her parents. She was the only daughter. Her mom is coming from Hong Kong. The father has come to Manila to wait,” Pope Francis said. (READ: Pope Francis mourns death of Yolanda aid worker

On Monday, the day Pope Francis will end his visit to the Philippines, Padasas’ mother is coming home for her daughter’s funeral.

Padasas worked with the Catholic Relief Service during the Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) humanitarian crisis.

“She worked for the organization and in the preparation for that very (papal) Mass. She was 27 years old. Young like yourselves,” the Pope said. –