MONTREAL -- The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops on Thursday announced that all masses at Catholic churches cross Quebec will be cancelled until further notice in an effort to help stem the tide of COVID-19 in Quebec.

The edict covers all Saturday and Sunday masses and other celebratory gatherings.

Churches will remain open, the Assembly said in a statement, and it is inviting worshippers to gather there in smaller groups or for personal visits.

It is also suggesting that worshippers watch televised masses and read the Bible and pray at home.

The Assembly said it made its decision in an effort to contribute to safeguarding the public's health.