KAMPALA – Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa, the Chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference has lauded the Christians for setting a good example by keeping the Uganda Martyrs Shrine at Namugongo environmentally friendly during the 2019 Martyrs Day celebrations and called on them to follow suit for the 2020 fete by completely ditching use of kaveera (polythene bags).
Addressing a joint press conference with Masaka Bishop Serverus Jjumba, Bishop Zziwa rallied Christians from home and oversees, planning to make the pilgrimage to Namugongo this year to embrace the campaign to protect mother nature as led by Pope Francis.
Bishop Zziwa said:
“Let us not divert from our resolve made last year to keep Namugongo free from “kaveera” in order to preserve our planet, Mother Earth”.
“May we all be mindful of the concern of Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si”. We are responsible for keeping Namugongo environmentally clean. Let us keep the place where Charles Lwanga shed his blood worth of the tittle of Uganda Martyrs minor basilica”.
Last year, the Catholic Church, in conjunction with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and other partners including media company Next Media Services, announced a campaign to eliminate use of kaveera at Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, warning about the dangers the polythene bags cause for the environment.
Bishop Zziwa said then that while “Kaveera” may be cheap, convenient and popular, it is non-biodegradable, which makes it very dangerous.
“It takes over 400 years for it to decompose totally. Unfortunately, no one will live long enough to witness natural decomposition of the “Kaveera” they dumped today,” Bishop Zziwa said, adding that “Kaveera” has potential to destroy farmland and undermine agriculture which is the backbone of Uganda’s economy and the livelihoods of majority Ugandans.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on 6th April 2015 in Geneva, their research confirmative findings to the effect that the increase in non-communicable diseases (e.g. cancer, asthma, diabetes, obesity,) was no longer attributable to genetic disorders, but partly a result of pollution overload in the environment mainly by chemicals from substances such as plastics
Full statement of Bishop Zziwa below:
UGANDA EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE
CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE FOR 3RD JUNE 2020 NAMUGONGO CELEBRATIONS
Rt. Rev. Serverus Jjumba,
Religious Men and Women
Ladies and Gentlemen
A warm welcome to all of you to this Press Conference! It is my privilege to introduce Bishop Serverus Jjumba and his team from the Diocese of Masaka in the Ecclesiastical Province of Kampala whose other four members are Kampala Archdiocese, the Dioceses of Kiyinda-Mityana, Lugazi and Kasana-Luweero.
The Diocese will lead and animate the preparations and celebration of the Uganda Martyrs Day at Namugongo on 3rd June in 2020 on behalf of the Uganda Episcopal Conference.
During the Plenary of June 2000, the Conference agreed that the preparations and celebrations of the national June 3rd Martyrs Day at Namugongo be done on a rotational basis. The Conference would designate a Province, and that Province would in turn choose a diocese to actually animate the Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations especially the liturgy at Namugongo. Accordingly, all dioceses have had their share in organizing the Martyrs Day. Masaka is coming back for the second time.
Today, I have to reiterate that whichever diocese is chosen, acts on behalf of the Uganda Episcopal Conference and its guidelines for the day.
The Conference has entrusted the Secretary General, the overall Chairman for the preparations for the celebrations, and Staff at Uganda Catholic Secretariat (UCS) with the responsibility of assisting and guiding such a diocese as much as possible.
The Uganda Bishops Conference is the link with the Government and its security organs as well as the pilgrims from outside Uganda. The Department of Social Communications in conjunction with the given diocese coordinates the provision of information to the public. The Magazine of the day is prepared and published by the Conference and the animating diocese.
As we welcome Masaka Diocese, I pray, on behalf of the Conference for success of the day relying heavily on collaboration and understanding between all stakeholders. Let us keep in mind that on this occasion the most important event is a pilgrimage and prayer in one of the holy sites where our forefathers, the Uganda Martyrs died for the faith.
May I on behalf of the Conference and myself invite all Catholics and people of good will to support this year’s event, e.g. be generous in raising the needed funds and extending warm Ugandan hospitality to pilgrims from home and overseas.
Let us not divert from our resolve made last year to keep Namugongo free from “kaveera” in order to preserve our planet, Mother Earth. May we all be mindful of the concern of Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si”.
We are responsible for keeping Namugongo environmentally clean. Let us keep the place where Charles Lwanga shed his blood worth of the tittle of Uganda Martyrs minor basilica.
In conclusion, I take this opportunity to wish Masaka and the Conference as well as the organizing teams success in planning and facilitating this year’s June 3rd celebrations. I wish all the pilgrims safe travel to Namugongo and graceful celebration of Uganda Martyrs Day.
May the Martyrs of Ugandan and our Blessed Mother Mary be with us during this time.
+Joseph Antony Zziwa
Chairman, Uganda Episcopal Conference;
Bishop of Kiyinda-Mityana Diocese
February 27, 2020