If COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order that has came with it isn't driving you a little crazy by now, I'm not sure what will! Being all for extra safety myself, NOT being able to sit down for lunch with friends on a Saturday afternoon is certainly getting old. It seems that with Governor Brad Little's announcement last week of his four-phase plan to re-open Idaho, a little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is there.

Amid the first things to "re-open" are churches-- a decision that seems to have everyone talking. There are two very vocal sides of this decision made by Governor Little: one that says they're tired of not being able to gather and worship and another saying that mass gatherings like the ones found in places of worship simply aren't any different than say a full restaurant or night club and isn't a wise idea.

Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum of opinion, local churches are still required to follow CDC guidelines such as social distancing and sanitizing procedures. This has many churches trying to figure out the right plan.

I grew up in the Catholic school system here in the Treasure Valley and am forever indebted to one school and parish in particular, St. Paul's in Nampa. This community laid the intellectual and critical thinking foundation that has shaped me into the adult I am today and remains one of the kindest communities I've ever known. Just this afternoon, St. Paul's in Nampa was one of the first to outline what's to come for their parishioners.

In a video released by Fr. Caleb Vogel, he acknowledges that EVERYONE is approaching this re-opening differently and from various levels of comfort. He notes that Sunday Mass in the Diocese of Boise, which encompasses the entire State of Idaho, is STILL dispensed (in other words, allowing exemption) for faithful who are elderly, vulnerable, immune compromised, or just not comfortable attending worship services.

For those ready to get back to Mass on Sunday's, Vogel outlines several procedures being implemented to keep one another safe. These involve social distancing, prohibiting "seat-saving", and discouragement of using restrooms.

This IS a hot button issue right now and I think we can all agree that we need to do what we believe is safest for us and for our neighbors-- talk about a call to selflessness for the greater good. I personally commend St. Paul's for taking such caution.

Check out this video below to see the steps that St. Paul's in Nampa and inevitably other parishes will be taking. The video is available in English and in Spanish.