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.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Not long after the time of Christ, a mysterious, ancient community carefully placed rolled manuscripts in clay jars and stored them in caves that remained forgotten in the desert for two millennia.

It is widely believed the scrolls were written by a fringe religious group called Essenes, but there is no proof of that or, indeed, irrefutable proof that the Essenes actually existed.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Pearse Lacey remembers the first time parishioners at Etobicoke’s Transfiguration of Our Lord got a taste of Vatican II.

Responding to the Council’s 1963 Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Lacey introduced what was then considered a novel idea: highlighting the laity’s role in the Eucharist.

So Lacey tried something new. He placed a ciborium at the church’s entrance and asked people to put a host in it as they walked in.

{mosimage}TORONTO - They sang multilingual songs, carried religious statues representing their former homelands and stopped traffic with a round-the-neighbourhood-block procession marking the 100th anniversary of St. Anthony’s parish.

Pastor Fr. Tiziano Paolazzi, c.s., joined with more than 800 of his parishioners June 14 to celebrate a three-fold anniversary: Corpus Christi Sunday, St. Anthony’s feast day and the parish’s centennial birthday.

{mosimage}OSHAWA, Ont. - For nine-year-old Noelle Irani, the joys of summer camp with Our Lady of Lebanon Church have been about friends, swimming and roasting marshmallows near the campfire.

But this year, amid the games, laughter in the pool and soccer balls in the air, the usual sounds and sights of summer have also been accompanied by moments of silence and tears of remembrance for fallen trooper Marc Diab.

Diab had been the camp leader for the last five years. He was scheduled to return home after a six-month tour of duty with the Canadian army in Afghanistan. But three weeks before his arrival, the 22-year-old was killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar on March 8.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Qiuhua Chen had never seen a homelessness memorial before.

The 27-year-old came to Canada last October, having converted to Catholicism more than a year ago. She said there aren’t similar memorials in her hometown of Fujin City, northeast of Beijing, China.

{mosimage}TORONTO - At 82, Bernard Scanlan has a new job. Known as “roving editor” of Around the Houses, the Providence Healthcare resident newsletter, Scanlan can be seen roaming the hallways of the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence, on the lookout for a good story.

On this day Scanlan is all smiles, with black notebook and gold pen in hand, looking eager to get started on the next article.

“I love doing it,” said Scanlan. “I never turn down a good story.”

{mosimage}TORONTO - It was just after Sunday Mass when missionaries-in-training Maggie and Mark Banga learned about the military coup in Honduras.

Although it was an abrupt ending to their mission work, the Bangas say this experience has taught them invaluable lessons about missionary life.

The 30-year-old couple, parishioners at Toronto’s Newman Centre, had been volunteering with Mission Honduras International, a U.S.-based Catholic Franciscan charity in Comayagua, northwest of Honduras’ capital Tegucigalpa since April. The Bangas were teaching kids English and about computers at a local school. Maggie was also working with single mothers who were learning how to make and sell rosary bracelets The couple was scheduled to finish the placement in mid-July when the coup happened.

{mosimage}BRAMPTON, Ont. - Whether it was rewarding altar servers with wrestling tickets at Maple Leaf Gardens, covering unpaid heating bills for a struggling family or offering a sympathetic ear to someone whose marriage was breaking down, parishioners at the historic St. Mary’s Church in Brampton, Ont., say it’s stories like these which highlight the spirit of friendship and stewardship between its pastors and the community for a century.

The parish will mark its 100th anniversary Sept. 19 with a Mass and reception. Pastor Fr. James Cherickal will be joined by nine other priests to concelebrate the anniversary Mass with Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins.

{mosimage}TORONTO - It was the most unexpected place to find God’s love. But newly professed Sr. Nida Fe Chavez, CSJ, says her ministry at a women’s maximum security prison helped affirm her call to religious life.

“Some of them said they found God in prison, through the people who talked to them, listened to them and brought God’s word to them,” she told The Catholic Register.

Chavez, 49, was a novice at that time with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and had been volunteering at a prison in Framingham, Mass.

{mosimage}TORONTO - Toronto's archbishop is cautioning parishes to remain vigilant about swine flu.

In a Sept. 16 letter to parishes, Archbishop Thomas Collins said the archdiocese is continuing to monitor the spread of the H1N1 virus which causes swine flu.

“Good hand hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread of all flu viruses,” according to the letter.