The Catholic Church in Cuba has run out of flour and will no longer be able to produce communion wafers. This means that Cuban churches will be unable to celebrate Catholic Mass and the faithful will be unable to sit before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration.
The disheartening announcement was made by the Order of the Discalced Carmelite Sisters of Havana, who produce and supply all Cuban dioceses with eucharistic wafers. In a Facebook post, they implied that they will not be able to provide churches with more of the sacramental bread until flour supplies increase.
The Carmelites explained that they had been working through their reserve supply of flour for some time and now the stores are dry. The Havana-based community wrote:
“We hope and trust in the Lord that we can soon resume work and once we have enough to distribute to all dioceses we will let you know.”
According to Cuba Detail Zero, the island nation has been contending with critical shortages of various daily necessities for two years. Foods such as milk, meat, wheat, and flour are off the table, while supplies of fuel and medicine are dwindling.
There are several factors that have led to Cuba’s current crisis, including the global pandemic and the war in Ukraine. These world events have caused the price per ton of wheat to rise by as much as $650. This places the price of a single shipload of wheat between $14 and $16 million, while Cuba needs several shipments of wheat per month to meet the national demand.
In response to the shortage of flour, some bread companies have taken to creating different products, like fruit juices, tomato puree, and a range of other foods. Meanwhile authorities are promoting substitutes for wheat bread, like bread made from cassava flour. While cassava flour may work for pizza, however, the making of communion wafers requires wheat and cassava is not an acceptable substitute.