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Boy Scout’s faith inspires space for others to find strength
By Michael O’Connor / World-Herald staff writer

When Boy Scouts build a footbridge or something similar for an Eagle Scout project, concrete is often the foundation.

Paul Brunetti tackled a construction project that started with a different type of base — his Catholic faith.

Paul, a junior at Millard North High School, built a rosary garden at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, a project that helped him earn his Eagle Scout Award during a ceremony Oct. 20. His brother, Phillip, received his Eagle award during the same ceremony.

Even as a young boy, Paul displayed a strong faith and a love of reciting the rosary, a form of repetitive prayer and meditation used by Catholics. The beads of the rosary are separated into five decades or sections, each representing a mystery or event in the life of Jesus. The Hail Mary is the rosary’s central prayer.

Paul’s mother, Beth Brunetti, said that ever since he made his First Communion in second grade, Paul loved saying the rosary. He’d come up to her and ask that they say it together.

“It gives me strength,’’ Paul said.

Paul, a member of Troop 408 at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, got the idea for the project two years ago when he was at Harold’s Koffee House with his mom. They ran into friends who are members of St. Philip Neri, and his mom asked them if they had any ideas for an Eagle project.

One of the friends suggested a rosary garden at the church, 8200 N. 30th St. There was already a grassy area on the south side of the church with a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Paul thought it was a great idea. He brought up the idea to the priest at Philip Neri, and then to the parish council. The parish agreed that it would be a nice addition to the church grounds.

Paul has family ties to Philip Neri and the neighborhood. His mom grew up in the parish, and his grandfather founded the nearby Harold’s Koffee House. Paul works there, and relatives own it.

The rosary garden features flat, round granite stones representing each bead of the rosary. The stones encircle the Virgin Mary statue, with some of the stones leading to it. Two benches are set in a mulched area near the statue, and the garden is filled with geraniums and other colorful flowers.

The garden was completed last fall, and the flowers were planted this spring.

Paul raised money for materials by making the granite stones memorials. Parish families donated money so each stone could be engraved with either a blessing or the name of a relative.

About 300 total hours of work went into building the garden, including Paul’s time and help from volunteers. Paul said he received lots of help from his family, fellow Scouts and members of Philip Neri, including a man who owns a landscaping business.

Paul said what’s most satisfying about the project is hearing from people who visit the garden, say the rosary and draw strength from it.

Get to know: Paul Brunetti

Age: 17

Education: Junior at Millard North

School Activities: Cross-country, wrestling and Latin Club

Family: Parents Beth and Mark, and brothers Phillip and Anthony.


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