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Old St. Patrick's Cathedral Undergoing A Little 'Lamb'-scaping

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An historic church in NoLIta is now all about "ewe."

Young sheep have moved back to the grounds, bringing back a beloved tradition for the month of September.

They are bashful. They are skittish. They keep running away from us.

Sheep Old St. Patrick's Cathedral
Three sheep from an upstate farm have been loaned to a New York City church. Their job is to maintain the lawns. (Photo: CBS2)

It's a struggle getting close-ups of these camera-shy and sheepish creatures, newly arrived to the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral.

"This is a tradition that began five years ago. Monsignor Donald Sakano, our parish priest, wanted to bring some peace and tranquility to the middle of the city here," tour guide Tommy Wilkinson told CBS2's Dave Carlin on Sunday.

Wilkinson helped CBS2 herd this frightened flock.

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Their job is lamb-scaping. They help maintain the grounds by eating grass and fertilizing it.

The little coats they're wearing are there to protect the precious wool on their backs.

The three are from Buckwheat Bridge Farm in upstate Elizaville, on loan for the month of September only.

They just got names New Yorkers will recognize.

"They decided to name them after the streets -- 'Houston,' 'Prince' and 'Spring,'" Wilkinson said.

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The sheep are still getting used to city noises, and getting gawked at by New Yorkers, including Michael Theodore and Debbie Reinisch.

"It's pretty surreal. It is pretty fabulous," Reinisch said.

"Surreal is a really good word for it," Theodore added.

Six-year-old Sammy Cone spied them from a tiny window.

"He got curious and wanted to see that little window," said Sammy's mother, Taja Abitbol.

"I didn't know they were there. Cool," Sammy said.

The serene looking scene reminds us that this spot was once a working farm once -- in 1803.

It brings us "bah, bah" back to a New York City that used to be.

Tours of the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is on Mulberry Street between Prince and Houston, take place seven days a week at 11 a.m. and between 1 and 3 pm.

The cost is $35 and proceeds go to the church.

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