Confirmations and non-confessional transition celebrations to be put back until the autumn

Flanders’ 12-year-olds will have to wait a little longer than normal for their confirmation into the Roman Catholic Church or for their non-confessional transition celebrations. Normally, Catholic children are confirmed sometime between Easter and Whitsun. However, with the coronavirus pandemic still very much an issue, the Flemish dioceses have decided that this year confirmations will take place in September or October. This year around 80,000 youngsters are due to be confirmed. 

Although the coronavirus vaccination programme is already in full swing, the Catholic Church has decided to edge on the side of caution, not least because it is still far from certain as to how many people will be allowed into churches and under what conditions during April and May. Each diocese will draw up a revised timetable for the confirmations and this will be communicated in good time.

No uniform decision has been taken regarding first communions. It is likely that a decision will be taken on a dioceses-by-dioceses basis. However, it is not unlikely that these too will be postponed until after the summer holidays.

Non-confessionals also have their own version of first communion and confirmation. Children around the age of 6 are treated to a Spring Feast, while they celebrate their “Feast of the non-confessional youth” around about when they reach the end of primary school. Here too corona is once again playing the role of spoil sport. 

A digital, online alternative is being provided for those that wish to celebrate in the spring, while a physical gathering, for example a party, can be held in the autumn, Freddy Mortier, the Chair of the group that brings together Flanders’ non-confessional humanists told journalists.


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