Kampala, Uganda | URN | The annual Martyrs Day celebration will be attended by only 60 people, this year. This is the only number expected at both the Church of Uganda and Catholic Shrines in Namugongo on June 3rd, 2020 as the country maintains restrictions on public gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Dr. Steven Kaziimba Mugalu has invited only 40 people to attend the annual prayers. The revelation was made by the Bishop of Namirembe Diocese Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira during an on-site visit to the shrine, early today.
In the previous years, millions of people from within and outside Uganda, thronged both the Anglican and Catholic Shrines to commemorate the martyrs, a brave group of young men who died while defending their faith.
At the Catholic Shrine, Christians start accessing the Centre on May 25th, when a Novena, which is often prayed nine days earlier in preparation for a feast or for a specific intention, is recited.
The earlier arrivals of both national and international faithful’s have also previously been observed at the Anglican Shrine. However, this publication’s visit at both the Shrines today was like a walk in a limbo with hardly ten people at the site.
Bishop Luwalira said that the Church was allowed by authorities to hold prayers at the Shrine by very few people in order to observe physical distancing, a recommended measure for taming coronavirus. He advised believers to stay safe at home and tune into the different media to follow and join in the prayers.
The Bishop also asked people to use the time at home to explain to their respective family members about the purpose of making pilgrimage to Namugongo to dispel the notion that it’s about worshiping the dead.
At the Catholic Shrine, Rev. Fr. Joseph Mukasa told this publication that they have invited only 20 people for prayers to be led by the Archbishop of Kampala, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.
He said that Masaka Diocese which was set to animate the June 3rd prayers and arrangements will only hold prayers in their Diocese while other believers will attend through the media.
In total, 46 Martyrs died for their faith. They were killed between May and June 1866 on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda.