The health crisis due to the coronavirus will affect the celebration of communions: some dioceses and Catholic schools have chosen to postpone them to autumn and in the event that the de-escalation allows them to be maintained in May, the office will have to be intimate and without a subsequent invitation .
At a minimum, Spain will live in a state of alarm until April 26 and foreseeably there will be new extensions. Furthermore, it is unknown how social isolation measures will be de-escalated and it seems clear that the normality of numerous celebrations and meetings will take time to arrive.
The Episcopal Conference emphasizes that the decision on the celebration of communions depends on each diocese and, for the moment, has not issued any recommendation in this regard.
Some archbishoprics have already pronounced themselves, such as those of Huelva and Seville, who have postponed them, or that of Santander, which will estimate restricting weddings, baptisms, communions and burials “to a maximum of ten people”.
From Catholic Schools, the director of the Pastoral Department, Mercedes Méndez, explains to Efe that her proposal is to delay the celebration of communions and confirmations until the health situation allows them to be carried out normally.
However, he points out that the date and the calendars are at the expense of how the health crisis evolves and the indications of the Government.
“They are large gatherings of people and that is exactly what Health is suggesting that we do not do during the crisis and, probably, in the later moments of incorporation into normal life,” he acknowledges.
Therefore, the option that is being taken both in Catholic-oriented schools and in parishes is to continue with the formation of children and young adolescents through the Internet, and postpone the celebration of the sacrament.
“You cannot anticipate a date, we are at the expense of the calendars that the government offers us,” he says.
However, Méndez stresses that some parishes had already proposed, under normal circumstances, to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation between the months of September and December with the aim of avoiding an extra cost for families who have to pay the final trip. course, graduation, etc.
What Catholic Schools do not consider is to modify the way of celebrating both communion and confirmation, since “the community and family aspect is essential for this type of celebration.”
Mendez points out that this is only a recommendation from Catholic Schools: “We can advise and give directions, but the sacramental issue depends on each school with its parish.”
After the religious ceremony, the banquet is a fundamental part of the celebration of the First Communion, says the president of the Spanish Hotel Business Confederation, José Luis Yzuel: “The religious element is the fundamental axis, but the banquet event is very importantly, the vast majority end up in an act in a restaurant. “
And those treats are already being postponed for the fall, he reports, because many religious schools are making decisions in the sense of delaying these acts until the last semester.
Yzuel explains that the reservations can be changed, but warns that September is the high season for weddings and it may happen that the establishments do not have availability by then and asks that more communions be held on Sunday than on Saturday, something that would facilitate the relocation of reservations .
“They do not ask us questions, the schools are free and they are not aware that a problem is generated that could be reduced by moving the communions to Sunday. As always, there is not a lot of hospitality,” he denounces.
The hotelier’s spokesman says that it cannot be ignored that there is an economic activity that is a consequence of the celebration of more than 200,000 communions a year, but ensures that customers will have no problem when it comes to changing reservations or recovering money from the signal.
“There will be no problem when it comes to reaching an agreement with the restaurant, another thing is that the chosen site cannot meet demand on the new date,” he says.
From the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), which has not received many inquiries on the subject of communions, remember that a contract for celebration in a restaurant can be terminated due to the state of alarm.
“It establishes the consumer’s right to be able to terminate the contract that he will not be able to carry out due to the application of the state of alarm”: the company has the possibility of offering an alternative to the provision of the service, another date, a voucher or a voucher.
And it has 60 days to offer a specific solution, the date from which the consumer can request the termination of the contract without penalty and has 14 days from the end of the state of alarm. The consumer is entitled to reimbursement and to have some flexibility.
Yzuel acknowledges that the business of banquets and celebrations will suffer in this crisis: it is unknown when it will be able to return to business, on what terms and with what capacity limits.
But he defends that the hospitality industry is a resilient sector and will end up coming out of the rut, although “some will stay on the road.”