Fr. Peter Turrone had an unexpected turn of good fortune when he saw a Nativity set on sale following a visit to St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal. Photo by Jean Ko Din

Toronto priest experiences miracles with St. Joseph's intercession

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  • December 26, 2017
Fr. Peter Turrone went to Montreal’s St. Joseph’s Oratory to thank the patron saint for the blessings received this year at the Newman chaplaincy and parish. What he didn’t expect was to leave with even more to be thankful for.

“I was kind of stunned by the whole thing,” said Turrone. “It was like one blessing after another.”

Turrone went on retreat in Montreal in October and before he drove back to Toronto, he decided to stop by St. Joseph’s Oratory. As he was browsing through the gift shops nearby, his eyes fell on a Nativity set. Turrone thought it was beautiful, but much too expensive.

“I was looking at it and I thought it’s just not going to work out,” he said. “Then there was a lady to my right and she was looking at me and she goes, ‘Do you like it?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, but it’s too expensive.’ ”

Turrone told the woman he was thinking it would be nice to have a Nativity set for the church office in the chaplaincy centre. The nativity set cost $240 and it was on sale, but it was still more than Turrone could afford, so he decided to let it go.

“She goes, ‘I want to buy it for you’ and obviously, I was very surprised,” he said. “And I said, ‘Are you sure?’ and she said yes and I was excited.”

Turrone said his interaction with the elder Asian woman was very brief. She told him that she was not Catholic, but Buddhist. However, she sometimes visits the oratory to pray for the youth.

Before the two parted ways, the woman reached into her pocket and gave Turrone a coin with an image of St. Joseph.

“She gave it to me and she goes, ‘St. Joseph gives you his blessing,’ ” he said.

Turrone couldn’t believe it. St. Joseph has become like a patron saint and intercessor for his work at the Newman Centre.

Earlier this year, he prayed St. Joseph’s novena of the Holy Cloak to ask for guidance on a much-needed renovation project for Newman’s St. Thomas Aquinas Church. A few days later, he received a call from the Archdiocese of Toronto saying that an anonymous donor left instructions in his Will for a $500,000 bequest to go towards a church renovation.

With St. Thomas Aquinas Church’s renovations well underway, many parishioners are attending daily Masses at Newman Centre next door and have the opportunity to see Turrone’s new Nativity set on display.

The Nativity set at the Newman Catholic Chaplaincy Centre has become a conversation piece with University of Toronto students that drop by. The Nativity set itself is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship by the House of Fontanini, an Italian company based in Naples known for its fine quality Nativity sets.

“I’m always telling people to come in and take a look at the statue of Our Lady and this beautiful Nativity scene,” he said. “It’s great because you’re praying with the images so when you’re looking at this, what I like to do is read the Gospel according to Luke or Matthew, the first chapters.”

Since receiving the gift from the Good Samaritan at St. Joseph’s Oratory, Turrone has added a few more animal figurines in the surrounding scene.

“It’s great because they all still look like one set,” he said.

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