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May 012017

The series ‘ 13 Reasons Why ‘ brought the suicide theme for debate

In recent weeks, the suicide theme came to prominence in the main news in the world and Brazil due to . . . a series produced by Netflix “Os 13 Porquês” [13 Reasons Why]. Until then, touching on the suicide theme was something forbidden and harmful, despite official figures showing that there is a growing number in the world in the act of taking one’s own life, particularly among teenagers. Every 40 seconds, someone commits suicide in the world, and this is the second leading cause of death among young people.


If we can take something positive from this perverse scenario, it is that today people are talking about suicide, and only when we see the problem, without reductionism or simplistic ideas, then we can reach for more effective and preventive solutions.

Why teenagers are vulnerable?

First of all, it is clear to parents that the theme of death is something very common and natural – for a teenager. At this stage of development, the young person goes through radical transformations in the physical nature and the psyche, which will influence behavior directly. The brain will be the Commander of all the physical transformations, sending signals (hormones) to the whole body, so that it is transformed. There’s a flood of new information that need to be processed in a short time the provokes boredom, anxiety and depression.

In psychic terms, the child is called to abandon the infant world and the symbolic death of this inner world is also, somehow, manifested in the outside world. In this phase, it is common for adolescents to express night terrors, dreaming about the death of parents, to dress in black, enjoy loud and disparaging  music and identifying with the gangs. They will have a predilection for horror movies, accompanied by agony and sadness that even they themselves do not know how to name. It is in this vacuum of grief and bereavement of the infant world that macabre games and suicide-themed series gain space and, in the worst cases, effectiveness, especially if such young people are being neglected by their caregivers.

About the series ‘ 13 Reasons Why

Without going into the details of the work, the series-inspired by a book of the same name by Jay Asher (2007), in Brazil released with the title “The 13 Whys” – is a young teenager who took her own life after suffering various types of bullying by her peers at school. First, however, to take her own life, the main character writes 13 cassettes and addresses the 13 people who are related to the reasons of her suicide.

The biggest criticism on the work is precisely the fact that she’s exaggerating in suicide, attributing to a culprit (or culprits) the death of the main character, and detailing the methods she used to take his own life, which is not recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), as it serves as a trigger for people engaged mentally.

On the other hand, the hit series addresses painful themes of everyday life of adolescents such as bullying, family disputes, sexual and emotional abuse, among others, that are experienced in silence by young people, which causes anguish and deep conflicts, especially because adults are not prepared to deal with their questions where they are most needed: in the family and at school. To get an idea of the size of the identification, Centro de Valorização da Vida doubled the number of attendants to people asking for help against suicide, mostly young people citing the series.

Can I let my teen watch?

This is a difficult question to answer because, in the case of a teenager, may be that while we are discussing the “permission vs ban”, he or she already watched the program. Really, I don’t think that the restriction is the best way, unless your child is less than 16 years, as that is the age rating of the series.

On the other hand, neither do we advise parents to leave their children locked in a room, with their personal computers, without any type of filter or critical view of the work. If your teen is watching or expresses interest, this is a great opportunity for you to sit with him or her and, together, discussing topics and taboos that we adults and parents put under the carpet, pretending that our teenagers live in a bell jar.

The series is also completely not recommended for young people and adults who are in situations of vulnerability. In this sense, the parents can be close and assess the possible harmful effects that the series can bring if your son or daughter shows signs of some distress or are may be undergoing treatment.

Series don’t kill anyone. Prejudice and indifference do. Death by suicide cannot be assigned to a series or a game. As I read of a psychiatrist, “blaming a TV series for the suicide death of someone is like blaming the thermometer for measuring fever”. There’s no point in working out one cause for the death of anyone, because many other complex issues are involved in the long run for a person to do the desperate act of taking his or her own life.

There is a culprit?

In 90% of cases of suicide, there was  a mental disorder involved which was not taken into consideration, by negligence or pure prejudice. This could be considered the “guilty element” in the anguish of someone who takes his or her own life. A young person who commits suicide leaves clear traces of the pain that is hard to bear in the soul, and, often, the parents think it’s “his nature”. The indifference, neglect of affection, the lack of attention and lack of listening to the teens can also contribute to tragic outcomes.

It is also true that many adults don’t know how to deal with situations, they are limited by lack of information because they didn’t know to whom and how to seek help. In General, the warning signal should be seen by parents and educators when you notice abrupt changes in the behavior of the young. For example: If a girl has vanity habits like makeup, fixing her hair and always is well dressed and, suddenly, is sloppy that is a sign that something is wrong.

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When the rebate, the sadness, the antisocial reaction and isolation become routine in adolescent behavior, as well as any other sign in the body as self-harm and weight loss, those responsible should not hesitate to seek professional help as a psychologist or psychiatrist. 

Parents, I say to you: “don’t put the blame on ‘ 13 Reasons Why ‘, or others type things, they are just amplifying the distress call that our young people are screaming out for a long time. Note If, you teen is expressing a wish for one thing or another, your son or daughter may not be crying out for help and support. It’s time to review our priorities and not to look for phantoms.


Daniel Machado

Daniel Machado de Assis, a native of São Bernardo do Campo-SP, is a member of Canção Nova since 2002. Psychologist formed  ath the Salesian University Center of São Paulo, he also studied philosophy at Canção Nova. He is currently Coordinator of the Center for Psychology  that aims to advise and assist the formation of the members of this institution.

Original Portuguese Version

 Posted by at 01:01
Jan 302017

by Fr. Robert J Carr


Cardinal O’Malley preaching at Sacred Heart Shrine, Columbia Heights, Washington, DC

Columbia Heights, Washington, DC–Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, celebrated Mass at the Sacred Heart Shrine in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC on Friday to kick off the Archdiocese’s participation in the annual March for Life in the United States’ Capital.

Proclaiming that “Every life is precious,” the Boston Archbishop and member of the Pope’s group of Cardinal advisors called for a community rooted in solidarity. Approximately, one thousand parishioners from Massachusetts listened as the beloved Capuchin friar built upon a theme of caring for all at birth and death. He described the recent celebration of the Sacrament of the Sick with one of the founders of the Ice Bucket Challenge who is in the last stages of ALS, commonly known in the US as Lou Gehrig’s disease and he used the experience to call to reject assisted suicide.

“Hitler,” the Cardinal said “promoted mercy killing.” He added that it sends a dangerous signal that those with disabilities are better off dead.

“We need each other at the beginning and end of our lives.” he emphasized. “This is why we are here.”

“Mercy and compassion are not the acts of ending the suffering person’s life,” He said. “Mercy and Compassion are really taking care of people and letting people take care of us.”

Suffering, he explained, is a call for all to care for those with disabilities and for the yet to be born. The prelate countered that in a country where extreme individualism is a virtue, caring for others at their birth and at their death is the call of solidarity.

The Cardinal said that according to Cardinal Carlo Martini the once archbishop of Milan who died in 2012, the Gospels show that Jesus had a higher priority for caring for the suffering than he did for preaching.

He ended his talk by citing three people that had inspired him greatly, Nellie Gray, the founder of the March for Life in Washington, DC. The first march was by about twenty-thousand people, according to Cardinal O’Malley, since then, he explained, it has reached over a half a million.

Mother Theresa whom he said  “touched the lives of thousand and thousands of people.”through the order she founded.

Finally, he spoke about Dorothy Day, whom he met at the Catholic Worker House in Washington, DC when he was a young priest. Day who is a declared Servant of God, the first step toward canonization, was a a convert to Catholicism who had both an abortion and later a child out of wedlock, but who came to the Catholic faith and became devout a great advocate of social justice. Day, a journalist and one-time contemporary to US playwright Eugene O’Neil, embraced the corporal and spiritual works of mercy as the guide to Catholic action.

Citing these three, the prelate stated that each one of us can make a difference.

“At the beginning and end of life we need each other.” he said.

“Our task is to turn the crowd into the community.” he proclaimed speaking of the powerful effect of caring for others.

“My hope and my prayer for us today is that we know that God has put us here for a purpose.”


Fr. Matt Williams surrounded by marchers on the March for Life in Washington, DC

The mass began with Boston Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Director, Father Matt Williams, teaching that “Witness to life starts with the Eucharist.” He added “the first aspect of being pro-life is being fully alive with the life you have been given.”

The march, which took place later in the day, had hundreds of thousands, if not over a half a million, participants who marched from the far end of the Washington Mall, not far from the White House, to the US Supreme Court. The march memorializes the decision of the US Supreme Court to legalize abortion in January of 1973. Among those who spoke at the pre-march rally was Vice-President of the United States Mike Pence, a Catholic and former governor of the US state of Indiana. Pence is the first Vice-President to speak to the marchers. No president has spoken at the rally.

This was 44th march.



by Fr. Robert J Carr


Mother Olga and Daughters of Mary of Nazareth, with Boston marchers in front of theUS Supreme Court Building, Friday

Washington, DC–Members of the Archdiocese of Boston’s contingent to the March for Life in Washington, DC, came up with a chant for the event. Led by youth ministry  director Fr. Matt Williams, who began yelling: “Boston Strong.” Participants, including hundreds of youth, responded: “We Choose Life.”

“Boston Strong,” a slogan common in the New England city, began in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that hit that community on Patriot’s Day 2013 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The event is dramatized well in the recently released movie Patriot’s Day. “Boston Strong” remains the slogan for the city.

The Boston group contained about one thousand participants of various ages and walks of life, from Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop to adult laity, priests, bishops, nuns, brothers and sisters and hundreds of youth and young adults and even a teen with Down’s Syndrome. Among the participants was Mother Olga, a convert to Catholicism and a native Iranian who formed her own order the Daughters of Mary of Nazareth now based in Quincy, Massachusetts. She and Fr. Matt Williams led a prayer in front of the Supreme Court building for the nation and a call for an end to abortion here in the US. They included a prayer for the intercession of St. Frances Cabrini (interred in New York City) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (interred in Emmitsburg, Maryland) and all of the American saints. The prayer was the culmination of the Archdiocese’s participation in the event in Washington for 2017.


500 of the 1000 marchers from the Archdiocese of Boston on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, prior to the March for Life

Photo credits: George Martell, Archdiocese of Boston

 Posted by at 01:01
Dec 132016

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A Eucharistic celebration in the Basilica of Gethsemane has gathered priests, religious and local Christians for the closing of the Holy Door.

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On Saturday, December 3, in Manger Square, the lighting of the big Christmas Tree has started the festivities. Bethlehem is once again waiting for Christmas.

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Father Francesco Patton visits the projects, carried out by the Franciscan Social Services Office in Bethlehem, in support of people and families in need.

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Nazareth celebrates the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Daughters of St. Anne. Celebrations concluded with the launching of a documentary and a solemn mass.

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The ancient city of Jaffa, now part of Tel Aviv, is known for its biblical episodes related to the prophet Jonah and the apostle Peter.

 Posted by at 01:01
Dec 122016

banner_480x360.pngTestimonies of overcoming and healing mark Hosanna Brazil 2016

Meet the testimonies that have marked the Hosanna Brazil 2016

Leticia Barbosa
CN Newsroom

The Hosanna Brazil retreat is well known for numerous people who gather at this event to thank and praise God for the graces achieved within one year. The 13th edition of the event was no different.

Many were the stories of overcoming, healing and deliverance, among them is that of Madalena do Amaral de Porto Alegre (RS). She is in the Canção Nova (New Song), from the day on November 30, and will spend Christmas in the community.

The cowgirl reveals that she always came to the event to thank God for everything in her life, especially after some situations that occurred to her:

“At the end of 2014, I went to the hospital to have knee surgery and I had a heart attack in the ICU. I have only 25% of my heart. Since then, I take care of myself too. I had a bacteria in my knee and I had to have another surgery; I was between life and death for a month. God rescued me, because I still have to fulfill his will. I just have to thank Him “.

She also told that lost four children, but that doesn’t make her a sad person; on the contrary, because “faith is greater”.

Madalena do Amaral

Madalena do Amaral

During the preaching of Father Fábio de Melo, on Sunday, 4, the priest recalled the testimonies of healing of Wilian Guimarães, Ricardo Cordeiro and Felipe Pavão. The young men suffered a car accident this year. By the grace of God and the prayers of all those caring about them, today they witness the miracle in their lives.

Wiiliam Guimarães, Ricardo Cordeiro e Felipe Pavão

Wilian Guimarães, Ricardo Cordeiro and Felipe Pavão during worship

These were some of the countless stories of the faithful who come to Canção Nova to thank God!

Portuguese version

Nov 282016

On the eve of the Feast of Christ the King, the youth of Galilee gathered in the Salesian school ‘Jesus the Adolescent’, in Nazareth, to reflect on the theme of vocation.

In the humble chapel of the convent of the Sisters of the Rosary in Jerusalem, the celebration of one of the first Arab saints brought together Christians from Jerusalem and the Holy Land.

Jalal Kahleh, Palestinian artist, paints real works of art on glass. This work of art is unique throughout the West Bank.

The mosaics of Hisham Palace in Jericho will be uncovered for a few weeks. Everyone will be able to admire the largest mosaic work of the Middle East.

Near Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, the Judaean desert has preserved archaeological treasures and precious testimonies of religious life for centuries.

 Posted by at 01:01
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