By Brian Swartz
Weekly Staff Editor
OLD TOWN — The Eagle Scout project completed by Ethan Addison Hall of Orono has restored Catholics icons removed from public view several years ago.
When St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Orono closed after a final mass on Jan. 1, 2009, the Our Lady of Fatima statues displayed outside the church were moved to a storage site near St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bradley. With the completion of Hall’s Eagle Scout project, the statues are now displayed at a new Fatima Prayer Garden outside Holy Family Church in Old Town.
A senior at Orono High School, Hall has been in Scouting “since first or second grade.” He belongs to Troop 478 in Orono. For his Eagle Scout project, he “wanted to do something that would last.”
Hall spoke with Father Wilfred “Bill” Labbe, pastor of the Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, and “asked him if there was anything [that] he wanted me to do.”
Labbe asked Hall if he would restore and relocate the Fatima statues. “He showed me what they used to look like” in terms of the statues’ placement at St. Mary’s, Hall said.
He enlisted fellow Scouts and other volunteers. Restoring the concrete statues took some time; “all the paint was peeling off” the statues, so volunteers had to remove the paint, Hall said.
“That was a lot of work, scrubbing them down and pressure washing some of them,” he recalled. “We sanded each one before we could paint it.”
Volunteers painted the statues with white paint designed for use on concrete, according to Hall.
Meanwhile, site preparation began outside Holy Family Church at 429 Main St., Old Town. Labbe selected a site next to several trees growing on the church’s sloping front lawn, and volunteers soon constructed a concrete base for the Virgin Mary statue.
Owen J. Folsom Inc. of Old Town provided the concrete, and Frank Clement of Clement Masonry Inc. helped pour it, Hall noted. “We had the base of it built by the winter of my junior year,” Hall recalled.
Last fall, Clement arranged for the refurbished statues to be transported from Bradley to Old Town. After repairing a crack in the base of the Virgin Mary, volunteers set the statue in place and placed the three smaller statues in an arc facing it.
These statues depict the three shepherd children — Lúcia Santos and Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who were Santos’ cousins — who first saw a vision of the Virgin Mary near Fatima, Portugal in mid-May 1917.
Volunteers finished landscaping the site, now designated the Fatima Prayer Garden. The Daughters of Isabella placed a plaque on site. Members of the Knights of Columbus also assisted with the project.
The Fatima Prayer Garden was dedicated on Oct. 22, 2012, when Bishop Richard Malone attended a farewell mass and reception at Holy Family Church before leaving Maine to become the bishop of Buffalo, N.Y.
Hall is pleased with the results of his Eagle Scout project and with the support that it received. “Pretty much everyone I asked to help was willing to do so,” he said.
After graduating from Orono High School, Hall plans to study business in college. A commercial lobsterman when school is out during the summer, he owns the Ellsworth-based College Fund Lobster Co. (www.collegefundlobster.com).