A total of 60 people have been invited as members of the Anglican and Catholic churches to commemorate Martyrs Day on June 3 due to Covid-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the suspension of public gatherings in Uganda just like in many countries across the world to avert its spread through crowds.
The Bishop of Namirembe Diocese, Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira, yesterday said only 40 people have been invited to attend the Anglican prayers which will be broadcast on radio and television.
“I have been informed that authorities have allowed us to hold prayers which will be attended by a few people but we advise the believers to stay safe at home,” said Bishop Luwalira who represented Church of Uganda Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba at the press conference at Namugongo Martyrs Shrine yesterday.
“Given that background, Right Rev. Serverus Jjumba, the Bishop of the Diocese of Masaka, has officially informed me that his Diocese will not be in a position to organise the 2020 Namugongo Martyrs Day celebration,” wrote Bishop Zziwa, the chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference.
At the Catholic Shrine, Rev Fr Joseph Mukasa Muwonge, the promoter of devotion for Uganda Martyrs, said they have invited only 20 people for prayers to be led by the Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.
On the issue of opening churches following closure in March, Bishop Luwalira warned believers and those in authority not to rush to avoid regrets.
The Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations are a massive gathering of the faithful, usually bringing together close to a million pilgrims from different parts of the world.
Masaka Diocese would have been leading this year’s Martyrs Day celebrations for the Catholic faithful, but ZZiwa said the Virus is still alive in many countries including Uganda, hence the cancellation.
The Church of Uganda, which equally celebrates the Anglican Martyrs on the same day, at a nearby shrine, is holding scientific celebrations.
The Church of Uganda Provincial Secretary, the Rev. Canon William Ongeng, in a statement, said they are having celebrations in Namugongo but with very few invited people including the President who has been invited as the Chief Guest.