Because I'd planned to be away today, I'd arranged for a retired priest to take the morning Mass; so I left that in place. As it happens, the priest from the neighboring parish, who was scheduled to do the Mass at the nursing home today, called me yesterday to see if I would do it; and I was happy to do so. So I did get to sleep in today. After breakfast, and checking some emails, I walked over to the school, where the children of the parish are gathered this week for "Bible Camp." As I walked in, one group was working on some arts-and-crafts project; they were bristling with comments:
"Father, you're back!"
"Why weren't you at Mass today?"
"Mass has been really quick lately!"
"The priest who filled in while you were gone creeped me out!" (It had nothing to do with his fidelity, I was happy to discover; but I'm not sure what the problem was.)
"Where did you go on your vacation?"
The crafts project involved creating a mini-"bible," in which they pasted Scripture verses regarding Abraham, David and Eliakim, all Old Testament figures who foreshadowed Peter, the first pope. "Upon this rock" is the theme, and lots of activities serve to reinforce this.
In the gym, another group was playing "Glow in the Dark Dodgeball." Someone explained the connection to Saint Peter, but I can't recall it now. And if you're wondering how you have glow-in-the-dark dodgeball, it involves flexible "glowsticks," which have some sort of radiant liquid in them.
Then, a third group was meeting for lesson-time, in which the Bible lesson was explained. I told the children about visiting Caesarea Philippi, the place where our Savior told Peter, "You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church." The city of Caesarea Philippi was situated at the base of a really big rock--i.e., a mountain; at the foot of the mountain were a collection of pagan temples, which were very active when Jesus brought the Apostles there. The point being that Peter (and the Apostles) would be instrumental in building his Church, to replace the error of paganism. And, indeed, today, the pagan shrines are all in ruins.
Well, all that was before noon. After visiting with the children awhile, I came back over here and fiddled some more at the computer (that includes writing this post) while I answered the phones -- the staff is all at Bible Camp. The funny thing is, no one wanted to talk to me! They were all calling about the bulletin, or scheduling a Mass, etc. In a few minutes I'll head over to the nursing home. Then I'll stop at the store for some supplies for the meeting tonight.