Catholic Church in Trinidad and Tobago

The Catholic Church in Trinidad and Tobago is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. The Apostolic Nuncio to Trinidad and Tobago is, since December 2011, Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, who is also Apostolic Nuncio to other independent states and Apostolic Delegate for the dependent territories in the Caribbean area.

History

The Catholic Church has been present on the island of Trinidad since the 15th century, when the first missionaries arrived here from the Dominican and the Franciscan Religious orders. Missionary ventures to the country launched in the 16th century resulted in the death of a number of missionaries. In 1516, Trinidad was named a territorial abbey, which was the first Catholic structure in Trinidad and Tobago. This Territorial abbey ceased to exist in 1650. The first Catholic church in Trinidad was built in 1591. Capuchins worked there from 1618 to 1803. In 1672, Trinidad and adjacent islands were included in the Diocese of Puerto Rico and in 1790 in the Diocese of Santo Tomás de Guayana, now Archdiocese of Ciudad Bolivar.

In 1797, Trinidad came under British control and missionary work continued because freedom of worship was granted to Catholics. In 1818, the Apostolic Vicariate of Trinidad was established, and on 30 April 1850 it was elevated to the Archdiocese of Port of Spain in 1850. Constant missionary activity of the Catholic Church only began in 1864 in Trinidad. Only in 1864 did the archbishops begin a serious program of evangelization of the island of Tobago, where other Christian denominations had prospered in the meantime, including Anglicans and Methodists. In the history of the local Tobago Catholic community, Catherine Creigh goes down in history as the first Catholic, baptized on March 5, 1870.