Students visit Haitian Missions by DEBBIE SHELDRAKE The Niagara Catholic District School Board’s (NCDSB) fourth annual trip to visit missions of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Haiti was a great success. It was facilitated by NCDSB faith animator, Kelly Stephen, who accompanied students representing three schools of NCDSB—Lexi Watson, Grade 11, St. Paul Catholic High School, Niagara Falls; Natosha Steeves, graduate of Blessed Trinity High School, Grimsby; and Matthew Sheldrake, Grade 7, St. Peter Catholic Elementary School, St. Catharines. NCDSB staff attending the trip included Jackie Watson, Grade 8 teacher, Mary Ward Catholic Elementary School, Niagara Falls, and Debbie Sheldrake, SCOEP program in Ridgeway. Also travelling to Haiti was Chris Sheldrake whose craftsman skills in equipment repair were much appreciated by the sisters. The following Haiti schools were visited—St. Marc in the village of Fleurenceau; St. Croix in the village of Thibeau; St. Croix in the village of Milot; Regina Assumpta and Marie Immaculée located in the city of Cap Haitien. The group also visited a clinic in Thibeau that is run by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, and the Marie Porte du Ciel (Mary Doorway to Heaven) Orphanage in Cap Haitien where the sisters care for 60 children ranging in age 17 months to 16 years. The relationship-building trip between NCDSB and the Haiti schools reinforced the message from the students in Haiti of deep, heart-felt appreciation and thanks for all that NCDSB students do to support the education of the students in Haiti and the future of their families. This year more than 1/3 of NCDSB Catholic secondary and elementary schools are participating in various projects to support Toni ten Den made rectories home for parish priests these missions. They are—Denis Morris, St. Francis and Holy Cross high schools along with the following elementary schools: St. Theresa, St. Christopher, Assumption, Our Lady of Fatima, St. James, St. Ann, St. Anthony and St. Nicholas in St. Catharines; St. Charles and Msgr. Clancy in Thorold; St. Paul, Mary Ward, Cardinal Newman, St. Gabriel Lalemant, Notre Dame and Sacred Heart in Niagara Falls; Alexander Kuska, St. Augustine and St. Mary in Welland; St. Elizabeth in Wainfleet; St. Michael in Niagara-on-the-Lake; St. Edward in Vineland; and St. Joseph in Snyder. For information on how to support these projects contact Kelly Stephen 905-735-0240 ext 129. ________________________________________________________ Toni ten Den by DEBRA McCAFFERY It was late spring 1969 when Toni ten Den arrived in Welland, a new bride fresh off the boat from Holland. Kids test sports skills at St. Patrick, Caledonia Together with her husband Henk, they settled into English classes and the search for employment. Trained as a bookkeeper, Toni found that employers were reluctant to hire her, feeling that her training did not prepare her to work as a bookkeeper in Canada. Parishioners at St. Mary’s in Welland, Toni noticed an ad in the parish bulletin for a housekeeper, and she immediately contacted the pastor, Msgr. Vincent Ferrando. He hired Toni and then promptly left on holidays for a month, leaving her to care for the rectory and Fr. Mastrangelo. Between the two of them they had very little English, and they agreed that if they were to be able to work together, Toni would bring her Dutch/English dictionary and Fr. Mastrangelo would bring his Italian/English dictionary to their conversations. A sports challenge, hosted by the parish youth group of St. And so began nearly 40 years of service to God by helping to Patrick, Caledonia, was held in February at Notre Dame create ‘home’ in the rectories of St. Mary (Welland), St. Mary Elementary School. The event was designed to test basic athletic of the Assumption, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Cathedral skills in hockey, basketball, soccer and football. The winners were of St. Catherine of Alexandria (St. Catharines). Toni’s (l-r) back row: Eden Acciccaferro, Jackson Burley, Sam Soshycki, positive attitude and joyful spirit meant that cooking, Wilson Leclerc; middle row: Marisa Cerasoli, Zach Lundie, Calum cleaning and laundry were the bare bones of her service— Giles, Aaron Albanese, Breanna Bird, Jacob Nagy; front row: she was always willing to provide that bit of extra: learning Daniele Cerasoli, Shawn Kelly, Milena Cerasoli, Liam McSkimming, Cassie Smye, Austin Lapointe. to cook new dishes (especially Italian for Fr. Mastrangelo) wall papering and painting while priests were on retreat, or ____________________________________________________ playing cribbage with Fr. Moreau, and then caring for him as he grew older. When Toni speaks of these years, her dedication and devotion are apparent. As in many homes, life is not always easy, but along with the difficult times are many moments of happiness and satisfaction. Rectory homes are no different, and as Toni says, “I always felt it was my second family.” Toni is an active parishioner at St. Mary, St. Catharines—she sings in the choir, participates in CWL (past president) and is a Eucharistic Minister taking communion to the homebound. Together with her husband Henk, she is also a member of the Cursillo movement. They have a beautiful and busy grandson, Aaron, and with all these commitments, Toni is sure to be busy in her retirement. Congratulations Toni, and many blessings in the next phase of your life!