Children set to receive First Holy Communion may have to wait till September

Marco Carvalho

The First Holy Communion ceremony of the children that attend the Portuguese-language catechesis in the Cathedral parish might be delayed until September, after the celebration, which was originally scheduled for June 19th   was postponed due to the aggravation of the epidemic in Macau.

A new COVID-19 outbreak led the government to declare more than one week ago the state of immediate prevention. In line with the decision taken by the local authorities, the Catholic Diocese of Macau announced the suspension of Masses and all public religious services two hours before the ceremony in which 15 children were to receive the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the first time ever.

The pastoral care team in charge of the Portuguese-speaking community that attends the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady wishes to hold the celebration “as soon as possible,” but the adjournment of the ceremony is, ultimately, dependent on the evolution of the epidemic scenario. Father Daniel Ribeiro told O Clarim: “A new date for the celebration of First Communion will be set as soon as the churches open their doors again. Our wish is for the ceremony to take place as soon as possible. It will not take place immediately, but as soon as the churches open their doors again, we will set a new date for these children to receive their First Communion,” Father Ribeiro, the vicar of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady,  assured.

Due to the substantial increase in the number of cases diagnosed over the last few days – 391 until Monday morning – the reopening of local churches seems , unlikely in the short term. On Wednesday, the Catholic Diocese of Macau reiterated the provisions that were adopted and announced, stating that weekday and Sunday Masses were only to be celebrated and transmitted online. Given the uncertain situation and the possibility that some of the children who should have received their First Communion earlier this month might be absent from Macau, Father Daniel Ribeiro does not exclude the postponement of the celebration until September. “If many of these children leave Macau during the upcoming holidays, the First Communion Feast will only take place in September. Our intention, however, is to schedule the ceremony as soon as the churches reopen their doors,” Father Ribeiro, a Dehonian missionary, stresses.