Karoline Verri Alves and her boyfriend Luan Augusto were random victims of a school shooter in southern Brazil. They were also devout Catholics.
Last June 19, a 21-year-old former student went into a public school in Brazil and started shooting. He fatally wounded two students, 17-year-old Karoline Verri Alves and her boyfriend, Luan Augusto, 16, before being immobilized by a teacher. Karoline died immediately, and Luan succumbed to his head injury the next morning at the hospital. Now, their archdiocese is talking about their holiness of life and proposing them as an “intercessors and inspiration.”
According to Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, the victims were randomly chosen. The shooter simply wanted to kill students in the age range of those who had bullied him when he was a student. He is now under psychiatric evaluation as well as criminal investigation.
In the following days, more information about the victims came to light. Fr. Pedro Ramos ministers at St. Anthony’s Parish, in Cambé, in the state of Paraná (southern Brazil). He told reporters that two days before the shooting, Karoline had gone to confession. He added that afterwards, she had said, “I’m ready for the Kingdom of Heaven.” For his part, Luan had received the sacrament of Confirmation just days earlier.
The youth ministry of the archdiocese to which the two victims belong, in an Instagram post, has recognized “young Karoline Verri Alves and Luan Augusto (…) as intercessors and inspiration for the youth of the Archdiocese of Londrina.” It points to their “virtuous life trajectory” and the “holiness” of their relationship, noting their participation in the community and in the sacraments.
The publication says they are considering initiating the process of studying the young victims’ lives and virtues with a view towards eventual recognition of their holiness. However, a formal process cannot start until five years after their death.
Testimonies from her parents and acquaintances say that going to confession frequently was very much in character for Karoline. She was very active at the parish, where she had been an altar server and participated in the youth group. Her parents are parish community coordinators.
The Estadão news website reports her father’s words: “Karoline was always smiling and very happy. She was always an exemplary daughter, who helped out at church. She was a daughter of God.” Regarding his daughter’s relationship with her boyfriend Luan, he said, “When they started to fall in love, they did everything together, including their work for the church. They were very happy and had plans for the future together. All of that was brutally interrupted.”
According to a parish note, one of Karoline’s most recent participations in parish life was on this past feast of Corpus Christi, when the young woman carried the lectionary during the Procession of the Word at the solemn Mass.
The parish note adds, “In this moment of pain, the St. Anthony of Cambé Parish and the Our Lady of Divine Love Community convey their feelings and are praying for the families of the victims and the psychologically shaken school community.”