Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register

Sheila was a reporter for The Catholic Register from 2008-2011.

A graduate of the University of Toronto's international relations program (M.A.) and Carleton University's School of Journalism (M.J.),  she has worked at The Canadian Press, CBC Ottawa, The Toronto Star, The Jordan Times and IRIN Middle East.

St. Jane Frances Catholic SchoolTORONTO - When 13-year-old Calvin Asare of St. Jane Frances Catholic School wrote a Christmas letter thanking Canadian soldiers for serving in Afghanistan, he was also thinking of the day when he might one day wear the same uniform.

Asare was one of 5,000 Toronto school students who prepared Christmas cards and boxes of homemade cookies for the soldiers and attended a Dec. 16 ceremony handing over Christmas gifts at the Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) headquarters on Dufferin Street.
Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic ChurchTORONTO - For parishioners at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church on Queen Street West, the annual Christmas traditions include helping poor families and those who are ill in the community.

This year, the parish is raising money for St. Joseph’s Healthcare.
St. Augustine CathedralTORONTO - Christmas stars, known as Filipino Christmas lanterns, adorn Our Lady of the Assumption Church this Advent season.

Our Lady of Assumption, the archdiocese’s Filipino Catholic Mission, is home to about 7,000 Filipino Catholic families.
Sr. Gwen SmithTORONTO - With Christmas coming, it’s socks, not Christmas stockings, that the Sisters of St. Joseph are hoping will come by way of gifts for people living on the streets.

“On Holy Thursday, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and said, ‘Do likewise,’ it’s always a privilege for us to do that. It reminds us of who we’re called to be,” said Sr. Gwen Smith, director at Mustard Seed, the Sisters’ ministry to help the homeless and individuals at risk.
haiti campMISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Amid the sights and smells of death and tragedy, volunteers from the Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board found hope and resilience in the people they met in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Maria Masucci told The Catholic Register that the volunteer trips by a team of teachers, university students, plus a doctor and dentist from Woodbridge’s St. Peter’s parish to Haiti in April and then again in July were inspired by the Gospel of Matthew about feeding and clothing the poor, welcoming strangers and visiting prisoners. They were helping in the aftermath of the January earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and left millions homeless.
Ashleigh MolloyTORONTO - Long-time special education advocate Ashleigh Molloy credits Jean Vanier with showing him the way.

It is Vanier, the founder of the worldwide L’Arche movement, and his message that working with people with special needs is a blessing, not a burden, that Molloy has carried throughout his more than two decades of work as a Catholic school teacher and father of a daughter with Down Syndrome.
habash collinsTORONTO - It was a brazen and brutal attack on Iraqi Christians practising their faith, but Syriac Catholic Bishop Yousif Habash, instead of seeking vengeance, preached a message of peace to more than 800 people attending a Remembrance Day service at St. Michael's Cathedral.

The prayer vigil in remembrance of the 58 Christians murdered and 75 injured during an Oct. 31 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad during Sunday Mass was organized by the archdiocese of Toronto and its Office of Ecumenism and Interfaith Affairs.

“They can take our lives away but they cannot take away our faith,” said Habash, the New Jersey-based bishop of Syriac Catholics in Canada and the United States.
TORONTO - New and returning members of Toronto’s embattled Catholic school board are both calling for reconciliation and a fresh start following Oct. 25 elections that resulted in a significant turnover of the 12-member board.

With a record number of candidates and above-average voter turn-out leading to several close races, Toronto Catholic District School Board voters elected six new candidates and six incumbents.

New trustee Jo-Ann Davis, who defeated long-time trustee and former chair Catherine LeBlanc-Miller, said voters sent a clear message with a high voter turn-out and election of new trustees.

“I think it’s pretty clear that people want to move forward,” she told The Register. “They’re looking for something new. They’re looking for more continued accountability and transparency.”
Barbara PoplawskiTORONTO - An Ontario Superior Court Justice has dismissed the conflict-of-interest case against Toronto Catholic school trustee Barbara Poplawski.

In an Oct. 22 handwritten judgment, Superior Court Justice Lois B. Roberts ruled that there was insufficient evidence to prove “on a balance of probabilities that Trustee Poplawski made a thumbs-down gesture as alleged, in an attempt to influence the voting at the May 14, 2008 meeting in issue in this application.”

A Catholic ratepayer took Poplawski and former Toronto Catholic District School Board chair Angela Kennedy to court on conflict-of-interest allegations. Both are running for re-election.
street havenTORONTO - The face of homelessness is increasingly becoming the face of women, according to Street Haven at the Crossroads, a non-profit agency serving homeless women in Toronto.

For its 45th anniversary, Street Haven will draw attention to this as it presents its “Women and Homelessness” exhibit on Oct. 28 at the City of Toronto Archives. The exhibition has been curated and designed by Master of Museum Studies graduate students Cynthia Roberts and Vanessa Fleet, and University of Toronto professor Jennifer Carter.