Back in May when I marked my fifteenth anniversary, the school had a little get-together for me. All the kids made presentations, offering notes of congratulations, spiritual bouquets of promised prayers, or even thanking me for something I had done for them. One of the more surprising efforts was that the first grade classes wrote essays describing what they thought I did on my day off. Now that it is summer, and we all like to be “off,” I thought I would share them with you.
Some had remarkably precise plans for me: I think on Monsignor Smith’s day off he goes to the pool for three hours, then he goes home and he prays for five hours, then he goes to the movies for two hours, and for the rest of the day he parties.
Others thought I did quite a lot, too: On Monsignor’s day off … I think he probably parties, goes hiking, cooks, works out, and goes to the movies, because he does it for hours… I think he goes hiking, makes new friends, goes to the movies, cooks, goes fishing, and he probably parties… He goes to the casino and he plays games on his smartphone. He can make paper airplanes and also go to parties.
Several knew very well what I do on my day off, and some knew why they knew: I think on Monsignor’s day off he goes hiking…. Monsignor goes hiking because I heard him in Church… he’s hiking because he said that at church, and I think that he reads about God and Jesus.
Some have the idea that I go to movies, and they say why: He probably goes out to make friends and goes to see a movie… He goes to the movies, because he probably likes movies… He goes to the movies, because I like going to the movies too.
There were a few other recurring themes: I think on Monsignor Smith’s day off he probably parties, and cooks. (“I think it’s time to cook that salami!”) …He probably parties and cooks because he might like to…He goes and cooks, because he needs something to eat… He prays and goes shopping… he might go shopping because you might need some new pants.
Some have figured out that my days off aren’t always very “off”: He visits the classrooms... He goes to church. Others see me as a reflective, artistic type: He lies on his bed and reads the Bible and prays, and drinks lemonade… He goes home and colors pictures and makes a cross out of wood.
Some give me too much credit for being athletic – and maybe for being prayerful: He goes to the chapel & also plays football… He walks in his gardens and reads the Bible… He prays & plays baseball & watches soccer… He can go to a restaurant with his mom and plays soccer with her. He gathers some of his friends and talks about the Bible.
Others see me as far less ambitious: He just hangs out and chills; he watches football when it’s football season… He relaxes… He goes out with his friends… He goes and sees his relatives & watches baseball… He goes home and hangs out with his friends… He takes naps.
Some figure out what it would be for me to take a bit of a break from my usual duties: He does not preach… He might just go to another church to listen to another priest say Mass… He visits the other priests.
Some of the kids are observant in other ways: Because he always has good stuff on Halloween, I think he spends the whole year collecting candy… He goes to Nationals games.
Others drew a simpler picture: He lives his life… He prays for us.