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They’re baaaack: The landscaping sheep return to NYC’s Old St. Patrick’s

Jeffrey Bruno | Aleteia
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The trio of of sheep keep the city churchyard tidy.

For the fourth year in a row a team of three sheep are taking over grounds-keeping duties at New York City’s Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, reports the New York Times.

The ovine landscapers, who are on loan from a small farm in Elizaville, New York, will spend six weeks munching grass in the churchyard in the heart of New York’s trendy Nolita neighborhood.

In what has become an annual tradition eagerly anticipated by the church’s parishioners and neighbors, the sheep will tend the grass in the graveyard amidst the weathered tombstones outside the historic 1815 church. Old St. Patrick’s served as the city’s cathedral until it was replaced by the much larger uptown St. Patrick’s in 1879.

The first crew of sheep came to the church because of a vacancy on the landscaping staff in 2014.

Msgr. Donald Sakona, the pastor, told Aleteia’s John Burger, “It began with our groundskeeper retiring. I remember saying to him, ‘Well what are we going to do—get sheep?’

“And the minute I said that, I thought, ‘Well, why not?’”

The sheep, who are said to do a “better job than the guy who cuts the grass,” are evangelizers of a sort, attracting attention among the busy passersby.

“They’re irresistible in a mystical way, because they don’t do anything,” Msgr. Sakano told the Times. “The attraction is, in a pressure-cooker world where there’s so much anxiety, they’re the image of tranquility.”

 

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