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.
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 3 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 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, 25 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, URN’s visit at
both the Shrines today was like a walk in 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.
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The Bishop also asked
people to use the time at home to explain to their respective family members
about the purpose of making a pilgrimage to Namugongo to dispel the notion that
it's about worshipping the dead.
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At the Catholic Shrine,
Rev. Fr. Joseph Mukasa told URN 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 3 prayers and
arrangements will only hold prayers in their Diocese while other believers will
attend through the media.
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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.