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.

TORONTO - Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees re-elected board chair Ann Andrachuk for a second term at their Dec. 1 board meeting.

Andrachuk spoke of the board's accomplishments in the past year, including balancing its budget, establishing committees on governance and student achievement and selecting a new director of education.

“We have been riding the crest of a wave,” she said. “I look forward to leading this board as we continue to move together with a strong and unified voice and shared wisdom, always focused on student success and achievement.”

TORONTO - The key to a successful school, says principal Dianne Parwicki, is a strong partnership between parents, the school and the community,

“Leadership means building trust between parents and the school,” said Parwicki, who was honoured for her leadership with a Principal of Excellence Award by the Toronto Association of Parents in Catholic Education.

Parwicki, principal at Toronto's Fr. John Redmond High School, was honoured along with Toni Mayer, principal at Toronto's Holy Spirit Elementary School. 

TORONTO - During the end-of-day rush hour at Sheppard subway station, TTC busker Benjamin “Lex” Tan strums his guitar, preparing to start his evening’s repertoire of pop music mixed in with rock, Christian contemporary and Christmas classics.

Although the pocket change is welcome (the most Tan’s made in a two- or three-hour session was $60), it’s the opportunity to share his talents and God’s love through the universal language of music that matters most, he said.

In fact, his most memorable “tip” from a TTC rider was a freshly baked pumpkin pie on his first day, Thanksgiving Monday.

TORONTO - An all-girls Toronto Catholic high school is looking to raise $20,000 this school year to help sustain South Sudan’s first secondary school for girls.

“We are trying to raise enough funds to help (the Loretto Sisters) open that school so young women can continue to be educated,” said Loretto Abbey High School principal Alda Bassani.

Toronto’s Loretto Abbey is partnering with another Loretto Abbey in Dublin, Ireland, to raise funds for the Loreto Secondary Boarding School in South Sudan. The school is run by the Irish province of the Loretto Sisters, also known as the Institute of the Blessed Virgin May (IBVM). Students and staff will be donating proceeds from charity events throughout the school year. Planned so far are a pasta night, Christmas concert and multicultural event.

TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board voted unanimously to look into creating the board’s first independent ombudsperson.

Vice-chair Jo-Ann Davis, who sponsored the motion at the Nov. 24 board meeting, said an independent ombudsperson would “ensure further transparency” and a system that’s “responsive and accountable.”

The TCDSB policy and governance committee will be looking into the motion and will be inviting experts to speak on the issue, she said.

TORONTO - A new report says the number of abortions in Canada has fallen below 100,000, but instead of being pleased with the numbers, pro-lifers are doubting their accuracy.

Campaign Life Coalition project manager  Jack Fonseca says the studies don’t represent the national picture because there are no statistics from British Columbia, New Brunswick and Manitoba. Also, reporting is voluntary for private abortion clinics, he said.

Fonseca believes a more accurate estiamte is 106,000 abortions annually in Canada.

TORONTO - Canadians' support for the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union — which was recently backed up by a $1.2 million donation from businessman James Temerty — sends a strong message that promotes democracy and religious freedom in Ukraine, said Fr. Borys Gudziak.

“After the Orange Revolution hit, we had very high hopes for fully democratic prospects of an independent Ukraine,” the rector at Ukrainian Catholic University told The Catholic Register while in Toronto as part of a six-week tour of Canada, the United States and some European countries.

“We have (since) turned towards authoritarianism and some politically motivated trials.”

TORONTO - It’s a cool autumn night, and Robert Kinghorn begins his downtown ministry as night falls on Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto. Amid the hustle and bustle of night life near a local hamburger joint, Kinghorn stands out sporting a white Roman collar.

But here on these streets, Kinghorn, the 26-year deacon with a background in prison ministry, seems at ease.

Toronto’s unofficial red light district isn’t where you’d expect to find hope and a prayer. But here on “the track,” the notorious downtown area with a well-earned reputation for crime and prostitution, is where Kinghorn has been ministering to people once a week for the past six years.

Kinghorn lends a sympathetic ear and offers prayers for the women and men on the track who seek his counsel, the prostitutes and drug dealers, many of whom are wrestling with broken childhoods and drug addictions.

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - Teaching children about the new Roman Missal means not only educating them about changes to prayers and gestures, but also about a “liturgical renewal” in the Church, say authors of a new children’s book.

Bernadette Gasslein and Sharon McKeever co-authored The Mass: Step by Step. Starting Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent, Canadians will begin to use the new Missal which introduces changes to the prayers and gestures of priests and the congregation.

McKeever said the Missal invites Catholics to rediscover the “key mysteries” of the Mass, such as Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and belonging to the Body of Christ in the world.

TORONTO - Br. Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria came to Toronto in mid-November to encourage the work done by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools as they continue along their path, sharing their work with their lay brothers and sisters.

The goal of the Superior General’s visit was “to encourage the brothers (by) visiting different communities and apostolates to have a better reading of each institution and to encourage the Lasallian mission, especially at this moment of our history where we are sharing our charism with lay people,” he told The Catholic Register.