His Grace the Archbishop of Port of Spain Jason Gordon has announced that all Catholic primary and secondary schools will be closed until further notice.

In a statement last evening his Grace acknowledged the fear and anxiety aurrounding COVID-19 and while he is urging thefaithful to keep the faith, he is also advising all vulnerable persons (the elderly, infirmed and anyone with flu symptoms) to fulfil their Sunday obligation by participating in Mass on Trinity TV.

Gordon said he had consulted with senior medical experts and listened carefully to what they had to say. “Amidst this challenge,” His Grace urged “let us keep our faith and trust in God so typical of Caribbean peoples while exercising prudential judgement.”

he noted that “Our Holy Father Pope Francis has advised discernment and due discretion with respect to the public celebration of Mass.”

As a result he said all Masses and Services will continue until further guidelines are given.

Religious education classes and other parish gatherings have however been cancelled.

Gordon said the clergy will meet on Monday 16 March to discuss the pastoral care of the faithful of the Archdiocese “so that through dialogue and prayer we may discern a way forward.”

Large church gatherings have also been put on hold pending Monday’s discussion.

HisGrace said the Christian faith “demands at this urgent moment we be our brother’s and sister’s keeper. Our hearts go out particularly to the elderly, the most vulnerable group in this pandemic.”

In the spirit of Lent, he urged the group “to offer this sacrifice for the safeguarding of our nation and the healing and protection of our people. We pray and hope that this will be an opportunity for us to deepen and widen the communion we share in the Holy Eucharist.”

Gordon has placed “the people of our nation, especially our most vulnerable, to the patronage of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Health of the Sick.”