2020 Uganda Martyrs Day Celebrations
2020 Uganda Martyrs Day Celebrations Cancelled. FILE PHOTO

Catholic Church: 2020 Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations scheduled for May 29th for the youth and June 3 due to coronavirus pandemic

Catholic Church has cancelled the 2020 Uganda Martyrs Day annual celebrations due to coronavirus pandemic. The celebrations were scheduled for May 29th for the youth and June 3 the main function.

This is because coronavirus has affected preparations, movement of people and the guidelines in place restricting people from social gatherings and emphasizing social distance to avoid the spread of the virus.

This was in a communication from the Masaka Diocese which had been chosen to organize the first-ever double celebrations by the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC).

The Masaka Diocesan Communications Director, Rev Fr. Ronald Mayanja says they chose to cancel the celebrations because of the coronavirus. He says at first they thought the lockdown would be lifted early and continue with preparations, but it was not possible.

Nevertheless, Mayanja says the diocese is still ready to organize the next martyr’s celebrations when the battle against coronavirus is over.

“Masaka diocese had already raised over Shs300 million in preparation for the feast which required a total of Shs950 million. Although the feast has been postponed, we have not dissolved the standing organizing communities,” Mayanja said.

The development was announced in a Bishops’ Conference and in a letter addressed to all members of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, Bishop Anthony Zziwa, the chairperson of the conference said postponing the celebrations was the right thing to do given the prevailing circumstances which have made worship, sacraments, a celebration of the Eucharist and gatherings difficult.

“The position of Masaka Diocese should be understood because organizing the celebrations requires frequent meetings. It demands unfettered movement of persons. Above all, with the virus still alive in many countries including Uganda, it’s not certain when restrictions on gatherings and movements will be lifted,” Zziwa said.

Zziwa notes that even if the lockdown is lifted now, they will not have enough time to make preparations for the occasion. For this reason, he appealed to the episcopal conference members to accept the cancellation of Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations.

Zziwa says in a later date, the conference will come up with another communication regarding the matter.

2020 Uganda Martyrs Day Celebrations
2020 Uganda Martyrs Day Celebrations Cancelled. FILE PHOTO

Church of Uganda which also marks the same day, have not yet positioned its self on the matter. According to the Communications Officer Church of Uganda leaders of the church are still monitoring the situation.

Uganda Martyrs Day is annually celebrated in Uganda every 3 June celebrating the lives of 45 courageous young men and boys who were persecuted and eventually massacred brutally for the sake of Christianity under Kabaka Mwanga’s leadership.

They were burnt to death under orders of Kabaka Mwanga 11 of Buganda. This was between 1885 and 1887 when there was a three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda royal court.

Kabaka Mwanga banished Christianity because he considered it a rebellious idea against his Kingdom as far as cultural practices were concerned. He ruled out that the converts should either denounce their faith and obey him or lose their lives.

But these young Christians objected his orders and continued worshipping the almighty God and at the end, they were ordered to death.

And now for many years now, many Christians from different destinations and countries every year move to pay pilgrimage to Namugongo Martyrs Shrines were they were martyred to celebrate, pay respect to these young Christians who lost their lives for the love of Christ.

Out of the 45, 23 were Anglican and 22 were Catholic believers.