By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published May 5, 2021
MARIETTA—Parishes in the Archdiocese of Atlanta are joining in the effort to get vaccines into people’s arms. A year ago, in these same places public Masses were cancelled.
Church halls and parking lots are being repurposed as people roll up their sleeves to get immunized against the coronavirus.
A recent study by Public Religion Research Institute reported faith-based approaches supporting vaccines can influence members who are hesitant to receive the shot.
Among those who identified as Hispanic Catholic, as many as 36 percent were reluctant to get a vaccine. Among White Catholics, who attend Mass regularly, about 20 percent expressed being hesitant.
But the study found religious leaders saying an encouraging word could convince them to get a shot.
At St. Ann Church, Father Ray Cadran said the parish hosting a vaccine clinic is an opportunity for people to serve their neighbors.
“I consider being vaccinated an act of self-care, an act of the best kind of self-love: taking care of the whole person who is to love God with body, mind, soul and strength,” said the pastor in an email. “I wish to love my neighbor in the same careful, protective, healthy way so they, too, can love God with their whole, healthy self. This is a wonderful gift a parish community can give to those within it and beyond its boundaries.”
Father Cadran is a member of the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette religious community.
The Marietta church was the site of a vaccination clinic April 19. More than 100 people got their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine to protect them against the coronavirus.
With the help of the parish pastoral care staff, Managed Health Solutions Pharmacy and Qualicare Home Care served the people getting their vaccines.
The people are expected to return to the parish for the final round two injection May 10.
Transfiguration Church, Marietta, hosted its drive-thru vaccine clinic April 20 in the church parking lot. Workers from Wellstar Health System, as well as Cobb and Douglas public health departments distributed the vaccines.
More than 70 vaccines were administered, primarily to Latino parish families who have not had the opportunity to receive their vaccines, said Donna McNulty, a parish volunteer.
Approximately 20 parish members assisted with registration, education, and monitoring for side effects. It was a huge success and a wonderful collaboration of partnership of church and community to reach parish families, said McNulty.