HALIFAX -- The Archbishop of Halifax-Yarmouth announced Friday that as of Monday, all masses and liturgies will be suspended until further notice.

This also applies to all other large church gatherings.

"More precise directives will be forthcoming regarding funerals, weddings, and Holy Week," Archbishop Anthony Mancini said in a letter to priests, deacons, and members of the Catholic community.

Mancini said he made the decision after consulting with health authorities and with his fellow Atlantic bishops.

"This action is taken as an expression of responsibility for the well-being of all entrusted to our care, as well as the common good of the broader community," Mancini wrote. "This directive applies to all parishes, churches, and other places of worship."

Mancini also recommended that, where possible, churches remain open for people to come for personal prayer.

"I ask all our deacons to continue to be of service to those in need by your visitis and your attention to teh poor, the sick, and those suffering in any other way," Mancini wrote.