First communions and confirmations, which could not be held because of the new coronavirus (Covid-19), can now take place in autumn, the Episcopal Conference indicated on Friday.
Each district is now making preparations for these ceremonies, the bishops said.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown had forced the church authorities to put off first communions and confirmations, which are usually held between Easter and Pentecost. The bishops had decided at the time to postpone confirmations to September or October this year, and to put off first communions to the 2020-2021 academic year.
At a Thursday teleconference, the bishops confirmed that, given the current situation, this timeline can be met. “We were also awaiting the decisions of the National Security Council, which has in fact authorised religious ceremonies with up to 200 persons from Monday, based on the size of the church and on condition that the safety measures (such as physical distancing and compulsory face masks from 12 years up) are respected,” spokesperson Geert De Kerpel explained.
Each district is now making concrete preparations for first communions and confirmations. Local bishops will be informed shortly and will soon convey detailed information to the parents and children concerned.
However, families will not be able to hold the traditional communion parties due to the restrictions that apply to social gatherings: no more than 10 people may come together, and the rules that apply in the hospitality sector must be respected.