KAMPALA, MAY 5, 2020 (CISA)-The Annual Martyrs Day Celebrations that was scheduled for June 3 has been deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Even if the current lockdown is eased, it will not be possible in the time available to properly organize the celebration of this magnitude. Remember also that the pilgrimage to Namugongo on June 3 attracts thousands of participants from Uganda and other parts of the world,” said Rt. Rev. Joseph Antony Zziwa, the Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference on April 30.
The decision to cancel the celebrations was taken by the bishops at the request of the Catholic diocese of Masaka, who were to animate this year’s celebrations.
“Rt. Rev. Serverus Jjumba, the Bishop of the Diocese of Masaka, has officially informed me that his Diocese will not be in a position to organize the 2020 Namugongo (Shrine) Martyrs Day,” Bishop Zziwa said.
According to Fr Ronald Mayanja, the Masaka Diocesan Communications Director, the diocese had already raised over 300 million Ugandan Shillings (appx. 80,000 USD) in preparation for the feast which required a total of 950 million Ugandan Shillings (appx. 250 000 USD).
The Martyrs Day is marked as a public holiday in Uganda to remember killing of the martyrs; a group of 22 Catholic and 23 Anglican converts to Christianity in the historical Kingdom of Buganda. Most of the converts were young men who abandoned traditional forms of worship.
They were burnt to death on the orders of KabakaMwanga II, the then king of Buganda between 1885 and 1887, for refusing to denounce Christianity.