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.

The Work of Mercy: Being the Hands and Heart of Christ by Mark P. Shea (Servant Books, an imprint of St. Anthony Messenger Press, 144 pages, $14.99).

American Catholic author Mark P. Shea delves into the topic of spiritual and corporal works of mercy without presenting new theology. Instead, his book offers a modern, and refreshing, update.

TORONTO - During a trip to Bangladesh, Angela Grace Macri watched with her daughter, Mary Anne, as Bangladeshi mothers taught children the lessons they learned at the Amarok Society’s “Angela Women’s School.”

It’s a school named after Macri, the 2011 Toronto Catholic District School Board Alumni Award winner.

Macri says helping to educate girls through her volunteer work with the non-profit Amarok Society borrows lessons learned about her Catholic faith from her parents and her teachers at Toronto’s Loretto Abbey High School.

Mississauga, Ont. - It will be a special Christmas for the family of Dina Al-Sammak and Fawaz Fatohi; their son, David, turns a year old this Christmas season, which marks the family’s two-year anniversary in Canada.

Like many Catholic families in the multicultural Greater Toronto Area, the family will be celebrating with Christmas Mass and family get-togethers, integrating some of the cultural traditions of their Iraqi homeland into the festivities.

Before being sponsored as refugees by Mississauga’s St. Dominic Catholic Church in 2009, Al-Sammak says attending Christmas Mass and celebrating with family in Baghdad were luxuries they could not participate in because of the post-war violence in Iraq.

Christmas ornaments featuring a kneeling soldier and the words “Never Alone/Jamais Seul” are being sold in a campaign to raise awareness of Canada’s new war veterans.

The campaign is run by Jane Twohey, a Military Christian Fellowship of Canada volunteer from Port Perry, Ont., northeast of Toronto.

Twohey wants to commemorate the service of Canadian soldiers and chaplains serving in missions around the world through the Christmas ornaments.

TORONTO - Celebrity chef Christine Cushing joined youth at Toronto's Covenant House in baking Christmas cookies Dec. 13 to help inspire them achieve their goal of becoming a chef.

“As a chef, I'm so glad to have the chance to work with these youth to encourage them to follow their dreams and share their talents, especially during this season,” said Cushing, host of Fearless in the Kitchen on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Covenant House, Canada's largest shelter for homeless youth, runs a “Cooking for Life” program. In nine weeks, youth graduate from the program where they are trained by a chef instructor from George Brown College.

Ria, a 20-year-old chef-in-training, told The Catholic Register that she enjoyed baking with Cushing at Covenant House's new culinary arts training kitchen.

TORONTO - Toronto’s budget chief says the city will be rethinking proposed cuts that some saw as a threat to the 685 nutrition programs at the city’s public and Catholic schools.

The committee is “rethinking everything,” Councillor Mike Del Grande told The Catholic Register.

And Councillor Doug Ford, in media interviews, reassured students and parents that kids “aren’t going to go hungry.”

TORONTO - For Andrea Rebello, singing sacred hymns is a way to express her love for God.

“(Singing) is an expression of how I like to pray,” said Rebello, cantor and music director at St. Clement Church. “Through the arts, we can really communicate our prayer and love of God, and our faith and devotion.”

Rebello has been doing plenty of praying lately, as she has just recorded a CD, Venite Adoremus, with some of those songs on the playlist at a Christmas concert she was to perform Dec. 17 at St. Clement Church. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the parish.

TORONTO - For Toronto Deacon Anthony Pignataro, penning poems is merely a form of prayer and service to others.

Writing poetry is “another way of serving others as you disseminate the work and share it,” he said.

Drawing from his ministry as a deacon and 20 years of “inspirational walks through his garden,” Pignataro has just published his first book of poetry, personal essays and meditations, From Under a Linden Tree, published by Sarum House.

TORONTO - Close to 7,000 Catholic elementary students could lose their breakfast program if proposed City of Toronto budget cuts are passed, says Trustee Maria Rizzo.

Without the breakfast program, kids will be going to school hungry, she said, and would be detrimental to student learning.

“I hope (Mayor) Rob Ford can make sure they'll give them a little bit of gravy,” Rizzo told The Catholic Register.

TORONTO - Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten praised the anti-bullying initiatives undertaken by Ontario Catholic school boards and said she is “very confident” that Catholic schools can fulfill new government requirements to make schools safer.

Broten told The Catholic Register that she was “pleased when we launched the comprehensive action plan last week” and “standing side by side with Catholic teachers and trustees, each and every one of them was standing up against bullying.”