By Mary Calvi

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — During Christmas 2020, churchgoers kept their distance for holiday Mass or watched virtually.

It was just one example of how COVID-19 transformed how people practiced their faith.

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How will this year be impacted by the virus, and now the Omicron variant?

CBS2’s Mary Calvi asked Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

“What are the plans for Christmas Eve Mass. Will people be able to be there in person?” Calvi asked.

“Full speed ahead Mary, you bet. Look, practice makes perfect, and these last 22 months we’ve learned to do it right. So we’re safe, we’re secure, we’re healthy, we’re taking all the precautions. The crowds are coming back. The folks are happy to be there, and we’re open for a full schedule,” Dolan said.

Watch: Mary Calvi’s Full Interview With Timothy Cardinal Dolan

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“Are there any concerns about the crowds and whether additional precautions should be taken in regards to social distancing? Is there masking at this time?” Calvi asked.

“First of all, we’ve kept a lot of the precautions that were already in effect and that we haven’t let up on – the availability of handwashing, the requirement of masks, no communion with the cup, no handshake of peace. And now we’ve hiked up again, with reminding people to be masked, which they are, including myself. It’s tough to sing with a mask on, but I don’t sing that well either,” Dolan said. “We don’t check vaccination certificates, Mary, but when people come in, they’re indicated that if they don’t have the vaccine there’s a place for them to sit where there would be social distancing.”

And now with several school districts announcing a move to remote learning, Calvi asked whether the Catholic schools of the New York Archdiocese will be affected.

“Are you concerned as we go forward with the Catholic school system?” Calvi asked.

“Of course I’m concerned, but again, we’re on a high, because last year, remember, we didn’t close. We didn’t go remote. And we didn’t have any outbreaks. We didn’t have any sudden surges. The teachers, the principals, the parents, the volunteers were extraordinarily scrupulous. And we were back in session. And our enrollment went up, and it’s continued now to be high. So we’re not planning at all to back down and go remote,” he said.

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Christmas Masses will also be streamed from St. Patrick’s Cathedral as well as from churches around the Tri-State Area.

Mary Calvi