Ugandans have been urged to stay home and follow the directives put in place by Ministry of health and President Yoweri Museveni. The call was made by several preachers during celebration of Uganda Martyrs Day.
At Namugongo Catholic Shrine, prayers were led by the Kampala Archbishop His Grace Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga who imagined how things would have been, if the day was celebrated in the normal way.
This is the first time in 100 years that pilgrims have not walked to Namugongo for Uganda Martyrs Day. In fact, only 60 people were invited to attend today’s Mass. In a year, the Catholic Shrine receives more than 3 million pilgrims.
The Archbishop urged Ugandans to pray for intercession of Uganda Martyrs especially during this pandemic. He prayed for peace across the world and all people may emulate the good example of the Uganda Martyrs so they can also enter heaven. Uganda has 13 Catholic Shrines where some of the Martyrs were killed. While the final place of death was Namugongo, some of the Martyrs were killed on the way, before completing the journey.
These include; St. Andrew Kaggwa, St. Dennis Ssebugwawo, St. Ponsian Ngondwe, St. Balukuddembe, St. Matia Mulumba among others. The Archbishop says it is important for all Ugandans to know these sites and make pilgrimages there.
At Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine, Mass was led by Msgr Charles Kasibante, the Vicar General Kampala Archdiocese who also prayed for the defeat of COVID19.
“COVID19 has caused a lot of bloodshed, we ask the Uganda Martyrs to pray for us. We are experiencing oppressive conditions due to COVID19, we ask the Martyrs so that they may pray for us not to relax in our attitude towards the pandemic, not to rebel against the directives given to us for our protection and that of our society, we ask for patience, endurance and resilience so that we may withstand this trying moment with hope of overcoming it” Mgr Kasibante prayed.
At the Anglican Shrine in Nakiyanja Namugongo, Archbishop Dr. Stephen Kazimba prayed against corruption that has eaten the country to the core, and prayed that all Ugandans may be united as they fight it.
“We should be united as we fight corruption. Corruption is killing us, killing our nation, even religious leaders. As we celebrate the Uganda Martyrs Church, let us unite to fight all these problems in our nation” the Archbishop said.
In his Martyrs Day message, President Yoweri Museveni said the Uganda Martyrs are like seeds that fell on the good soil as taught in the Bible.
He noted that every year, many pilgrims cross borders to emulate and remember the Uganda Martyrs spirit of sacrifice and total surrender to God. He promised the government will continue supporting the work of the Church
Mr. Museveni noted that this year’s celebrations could not take place in the usual way, due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world.
“The religious practice of gathering in Namugongo for special prayers will not take place this year because of the deadly Coronavirus disease. This virus has the potential of spreading like bush fire once it finds large groups of people near eachother. We must continue to deny it this opportunity by praying from home as we have been doing for the last two months” the President said.