‘It’s a moral obligation’: Friar addresses concerns over vaccine as Syracuse church hosts vaccine clinic

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — When the state sent out the call for help to improve vaccination rates in areas where it is lower, Assumption Church on North Salina Street in Syracuse said yes.

“Pope Francis has been encouraging everyone to get vaccinated,” said Assumption Church Pastor Friar Rick ‘Friar Rick’ Riccioli. “He said it’s a moral obligation that we have, actually. Not so much about ourselves, but for the people around us.”

Friar Rick said he understands some groups of people including members of the Catholic Church have reservations about the getting the vaccine.

“The Holy See has looked at it and said there are some issues around some fetal tissue that was used in the development originally of the vaccines, but considering the distance from those instances and the gravity of the situation, the good far outweighs the evil,” he explained.

He also said the church plays an important role in ensuring the health and safety of the community. That’s why Assumption will open its doors for the vaccine clinic.

“My hope is that Assumption Church, which is a trusted partner for so many people – we help so many in our community, that if it’s coming from us people will know that it’s good, that it’s safe and that it’s important for them to have.”

Friar Rick Riccioli

At the height of the pandemic, Friar Rick said he felt compelled to do his part, “I’m part of the Upstate trial for the Pfizer vaccine. I got vaccinated in September and I’ve had no side effects. It’s a really important committment for us to take care of one another.”

He said we all can play a part and it can be as simple as going to the church or other vaccination site and rolling up our sleeves.

We’ll hear more about Friar Rick’s experience in the Pfizer trial Wednesday on NewsChannel 9.

The church is working with Wegmans for Wednesday’s clinic. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until they run out of doses. The one shot vaccine, Johnson & Johnson will be offered.

Walk-ins are welcome, but you can register online. The address of the clinic can be found below.

Assumption Church
812 North Salina St
Syracuse, NY 13208

Free snacks and free water will be offered. There will also be a $100 prize given every hour.

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