Kristel Padasas worked with a recovery project for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, so the 27-year-old traveled from the Philippines’ Samar Island to Leyte Island to volunteer at Pope Francis’ Mass for typhoon survivors.
The pope’s Jan. 17 visit was accelerated because of an approaching tropical storm. After the Mass, the wind from that storm caused scaffolding to collapse and Padasas, an employee of Catholic Relief Services, was killed.
CRS staffers were stunned and mourned the death of the Manila resident, offering prayers for her family.
“Her colleagues remember her as someone who loved to laugh and who was always ready to assist outside her normal duties,” said a statement from CRS, the U.S. bishops’ international relief and development agency. “She found great joy in being able to contribute to the recovery effort by working directly with communities and families.”
“Her dedication to the people affected by the typhoon extended beyond her official work with CRS,” the statement added. “She traveled a great distance to volunteer at today’s papal mass and to remember the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.”
The following day, Pope Francis prayed for her family and met with her father and maternal uncle; her mother works in Hong Kong, but the pope could not reach her by phone.
A government spokeswoman said Darla Santos, 19, suffered a displaced hip in the scaffolding accident and was “doing OK.”