KAMPALA – Religious leaders countrywide call for fasting, intense prayer as Christians celebrate Palm Sunday
Religious leaders countrywide used Palm Sunday to call on the faithful not to despair in the face of the lockdown over coronavirus.
They also called for intense prayer and fasting so that God can help the world defeat the deadly virus.
Palm Sunday is celebrated to mark Jesus Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which kickstarted the beginning of his crucifixion and resurrection. Palm Sunday marks the start of the Holy Week.
At Namirembe Cathedral, the headquarters of the Anglican Church in Uganda, Archbishop Dr Stephen Kaziimba said while there is fear and pain over coronavirus, Christians should not lose hope.
“Let us be strong in the Lord who gives new life and hope,” he said.
He commended the government for the food distribution.
At Lubaga Cathedral, Kampala Catholic Archbishop Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga called for intensive prayer and fasting.
Dr Lwanga asked the people to adhere to the presidential regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19, arguing that the churches are closed to save lives but people should stay home and pray from there until the situation normalizes.
Fort Portal Catholic Diocese Bishop, Robert Muhiirwa asked leaders at different levels to help the vulnerable people in these trying times of coronavirus.
Bishop Muhiirwa said this time leaders should not only be called by their titles in this period when the country is attacked by Covid-19 but also to work for people and help them such as the sick and the widows to get services.
“I was happy last night (Saturday) when I was watching TV to see someone was riding a bicycle taking ARVs to people living with HIV/AIDs who are in need now and such good acts are the ones needed” Bishop Rev Robert Muhiirwa said while celebrating palm Sunday at Jubilee radio.
Muhiirwa said in this time of coronavirus, Christians need not to lose hope but to have faith in Jesus Christ and embrace government measures such as washing hands to curb Covid-19.
He encouraged parents to utilize the lockdown to help their children in productive activities and also for men not to leave the workload to mothers alone but to share responsibility.
“While at home this time Christians need to continue praying, reading the word of God, sharing food with the needy and avoid bad acts such as smoking, unnecessary movements in town” Bishop Muhiirwa said.
In the Vatican, Pope Francis urged Christians to have hope, saying that Jesus has already saved us.
“God saved us by serving us. We often think we are the ones who serve God. No, he is the one who freely chose to serve us, for he loved us first. It is difficult to love and not be loved in return. And it is even more difficult to serve if we do not let ourselves be served by God.”
“But how did the Lord serve us? By giving his life for us. We are dear to him; we cost him dearly. Saint Angela of Foligno said she once heard Jesus say: “My love for you is no joke.” His love for us led him to sacrifice himself and to take upon himself our sins.
This astonishes us: God saved us by taking upon himself all the punishment of our sins. Without complaining, but with the humility, patience, and obedience of a servant, and purely out of love. And the Father upheld Jesus in his service. He did not take away the evil that crushed him, but rather strengthened him in his suffering so that our evil could be overcome by good, by a love that loves to the very end.”