Bishops comfort victims of school shooting in Argentina

.- Archbishop Guillermo Jose Garlatti of Bahia Blanca, Argentina, traveled over 400 miles to meet with Bishop Esteban Laxague of Viedma and together offer comfort to the family members of three students gunned down in a school shooting this week.

The funeral Mass for the students was held in the Athens Stadium in the city of Patagones, where the shooting took place.  The bishops prayed before each of the caskets and with each of the families.

On Tuesday, a 15 year-old student identified only as Rafael, began shooting at classmates at the Islas Malvinas public school.  Three students—two females and one male—were killed and five seriously wounded.  The student had apparently used an automatic weapon belonging to his father, a local policeman.  Authorities have not yet determined a motive for the crime.

According to sources with the Archdiocese of Bahia Blanca, which has jurisdiction over Patagones, Archbishop Garlatti was participating in a retreat with local clergy when news of the shooting broke.  He traveled more than 400 miles to attend the funeral liturgies.

Yesterday afternoon hundreds of people paid their last respects to the students.  The funeral procession was lead by local mayor, Ricardo Curetti.  Before departing for the cemetery, the bishop of Viedma lead the final prayers.
The Argentinean government declared two days of national mourning, and family members received expressions of support and solidarity from families of the victims of the Columbine shootings, which took place in Colorado and left 14 people dead.

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