Uganda Martyrs Day is here!
This year's celebrations are however different to the previous ones. People are being urged to observe the day at their respective homes as there will be no celebrations held at Namugongo, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
So, how does one bring the Martyrs Day feeling to their home?
Father Joseph Mukasa Muwonge, promoter of the devotion of Uganda Martyrs at Kampala Archdiocese, says the most important thing for people at home to observe is prayer.
"Pray, pray, pray in your homes," he says, adding, "It is the most important thing you can do on that day."
On what to exactly pray, Father Muwonge advises reciting the rosary (which was a major prayer taught to the Uganda Martyrs by the Missionaries) and the litany of the Uganda Martyrs. In addition, one should also take time to read and meditate about the lives of the Martyrs.
These Martyrs were killed between the years 1885 to 1887 by Kabaka Mwanga II because of their strong devotion in Christianity. And each year on June 3, Christians from all over the world gather at Namugongo to pray and remember them.
So, as different individuals embark on home prayers to commemorate these martyrs, Father Muwonge advises individuals do it from a preferable setting within the house. And while at it, one could also bring a feeling of the Uganda Martyrs celebrations into their home by pinning posters or pictures of the martyrs in different parts of the house. Also, they can add pictures of Mother Mary.
According to Father Muwonge, Uganda Martyrs day posters can help individuals associate or connect to the Martyrs during prayers. Meanwhile, pictures of the Mother Mary are important too because she is the Queen of Martyrs.
Why praying from your house is okay...
Meanwhile, Father Joseph Luzindana, in charge of children and Youth, in Kampala Archdiocese says as individuals celebrate this year's Martyrs Day at their respective homes, they should remember that God meets and listens to them from anywhere.
"God and his angels can meet you at any location. In the bible, angel Gabriel came interface with the Virgin Mary at home to deliver the news that she would give birth to Jesus, the Messiah," Father Luzindana says, "Also, somewhere in the bible, after Jesus resurrected, he appeared to his disciples in a room."
So, even if one is not going to Namugongo because of the ongoing circumstances, Muwonge emphasizes they can still hold the celebrations from home because God is understanding.
Why to add lit candles as part of your celebration?
From time to time, Charlotte Mbabazi, a mother of two, says she prays amidst the presence of lit candles.
"There are occasions I pray with lit candles in my room. The gentle glow helps to soothe the tension in my mind during prayers," Mbabazi says.
On a religious perspective, Father Luzindana says lit candles are often a symbolic representation of divine presence.
"Jesus said he is the light of the world and a lit candle in the Christian sphere is a symbol that either Jesus or God are amidst one's presence," Father Luzindana says, adding, "A very notable example is when God appeared to Moses in flames within a burning bush."
A strong word of caution though, for those intending to use candles at home to mark Martyrs Day celebrations, it is important to be extremely careful. Don't leave them lingering about the house. Use them and immediately afterwards, light them off. And also most importantly, don't allow children to play with them.
Alternatively, you could opt to use the flameless type of candles that use either batteries or electricity.
Martyrs' Day guide
Since some businesses are still closed due to the ongoing partial lockdown, it means that getting certain items to help with the celebration of Martyrs Day at home may be difficult. For this reason, Father
JosephMuwonge advises individuals to either celebrate the day without the items or use the ones they already have (including old ones).
"For example, if you have an old poster of the Uganda Martyrs laying around your home, get that one, pin it on one of the walls and celebrate the day," he says.
Do the same if you have an old poster of Mother Mary. Get that same one, pin it on a wall somewhere and celebrate the day, Father Muwonge says.