Cardinal Dolan: No vaccine mandate for Catholic school teachers, talks ‘Weekend of Faith’ initiative


NEW YORK — Religious leaders and churches are kicking off a weekend of faith across the city to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

Mobile vaccination sites will be set up at more than 50 houses of worship beginning Friday.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan spoke with PIX11 News to discuss clergy getting involved in the push for vaccines.

Cardinal Dolan commended Mayor Bill de Blasio’s appreciation for church and faith and said it was “wise” to turn to churches to further encourage people to get vaccinated.

Are priests required to get vaccinated?

The cardinal said they are not mandating vaccines, but are “vigorously encouraging” them. Cardinal Dolan, however, did say many priests have made their own decisions to get vaccinated as they may be in close contact with many people, whether it be at church, hospitals or other events.

He also said people are returning to church and numbers are “real close” to pre-pandemic levels across the archdiocese.

Return to school

The first day of school for Catholic school children is Sept. 8. Dolan said students will be required to wear masks.

“We’re pros at this,” Dolan said, referencing safety measures they took last year as they decided to return to in-person learning. 

All safety precautions will remain in place until health officials say it is no longer necessary.

The cardinal also said they are not requiring teachers to get vaccinated, but they are highly encouraging it. If teachers are not vaccinated, they must submit to weekly testing.

“We can’t jeopardize the health of our kids,” Dolan said.

He also said they want to have everyone back in the classroom, but there are some creative options for certain students who are immunocompromised or for certain circumstances.

Sept. 11 plans

Cardinal Dolan said this year, he was invited to visit one of the firehouses that was hit hard during the 9/11 terror attacks.

There will also be a big mass with FDNY at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and he’ll try to visit police, first responders, health care institutions and families who have lost lives. 

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