Students at Red Deer's Notre Dame High School have named a road, Fr. Don Way, in honour of Fr. Don Stein.


Students at Red Deer's Notre Dame High School have named a road, Fr. Don Way, in honour of Fr. Don Stein.

July 7, 2014

There is a new road in Red Deer, but you won't find it on any map.

It's called Father Don Way in honour of Father Don Stein. The ebullient priest, now retired and living at Edmonton's Villa Vianney, was a pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Red Deer.

Part of his community activities there included blessing the work of Building Opportunities at Notre Dame High School. This program involved students in building a house in the community.

Project advisor Mike VanLanduyt appreciated and welcomed Stein's presence on his worksite.

"It was his eagerness to be at the job site with us, his connection with the students, how easily he connected with the boys," said VanLanduyt.

"He spoke at their level. He had a realization where they would be in their faith journey. He talked to them about the foundation of being a young man. Do honest work. Make an honest living. Start with that as your foundation."

Each year, the class chooses a topic to focus on. One year it was respect for the clergy.

Fr. Don Stein with his street sign.


Fr. Don Stein with his street sign.

Stein came down to speak on the topic, but quickly changed it from himself to the students. What should they be doing to make an honest life for themselves?

VanLanduyt said the program has been running since 2004 and "about 100 boys and girls had a chance to have him on the jobsite with us."

"His positive attitude even rubbed off on me," said VanLanduyt. "He left a voicemail at our house and we just kept on saving it so we could hear the positivity in his voice."

That road that honours Stein consists of 60.96 metres of fencing and 30.48 metres of gravel and serves as a turnaround in the construction compound.

There were further honours for Stein. Each year, students have sweatshirts or jerseys or hockey sweaters made.

"That final year of 2010 we had hockey jerseys and made one made for him," said VanLanduyt. "His picture also hangs in the locker room."

On hearing of the roadway named in his honour, a joyful Stein said, "I was surprised, very honoured indeed. They remembered my encouragement."

He described how he would go for the initial turning of the sod, say a prayer and then be with the working students during the year.

The students, he said, "were very conscientious, and I would joke with them, especially the boys. I'd tell them 'Your wives will appreciate you took this course because now you know a little bit about electricity, a little bit of plumbing, the first formation on construction.'"