Whether living or deceased, priests and women religious deserve our ongoing reverence.
That’s the belief held by David Dempski, and he’s living it out via his landscaping project at the memorials of two priests and three nuns at St. Patrick Cemetery in Owego.
The effort is serving as the 16-year-old’s Eagle Scout project; David belongs to Boy Scout Troop 60 in Owego. He said the idea was suggested to him by Father William Moorby, pastor of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes, where David is a member.
"It will greatly improve the appearance of this section of the cemetery and show more respect to these priests and nuns," David stated.
David is in the process of installing such plants as chrysanthemums, daisies, black-eyed Susans, lilies of the valley and boxwood shrubs. He reported that the landscaping process goes as follows: "Dig about six inches in an area that’s been marked off, smooth the dirt, lay down landscaping fabric, make slits in the fabric and plant the flowers and shrubs, put edging around the area, water the plants, and finally lay down the mulch."
According to David, the two priests interred at St. Patrick Cemetery are Father Thomas D. Johnson, who died in 1893; and Father John O’Mara, who died in 1883. The three nuns are Sister M. Catherine who died in 1943; Sister M. Patrick, who died in 1923; and Sister M. Angela, who died in 1881. David said he has scant historical details on these people, but is trying to accumulate more.
David said his Eagle Scout project was approved in October 2009 and he expects to have it completed sometime this May. Between his work at the cemetery and responses to people who have offered donations, David is a busy young man these days.
"Things have been moving pretty fast and I’ve been doing something involved with this project almost every day," remarked David, a sophomore at Owego Free Academy. Among his fundraising activities are collecting donations, putting up flyers, conducting a can-and-bottle drive, and returning cans and bottles at redemption centers.
David said he’ll gladly accept further donations to aid his Eagle Scout project. Cans and bottles may be dropped off at St. Patrick Cemetery on Route 17C, near the shed at the back of the cemetery, or he will pick them up at homes. He also welcomes donations of mulch, plants and cash. Those wishing to assist should contact him at 607-972-7962 or email@example.com.