There was a significant reduction of the rituals that Christians usually perform to mark Palm Sunday due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that has kept places of worship around the world closed.
Palm Sunday is celebrated in commemoration of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. It marks the first day of Holy Week, also, the last week of the Lent season that ends with the Easter vigil.
Because of the pandemic, the celebrations were devoid of processions of Christians riding on donkeys, others waving palm leaves to relive the biblical story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Instead, small groups of priests privately commemorated the day from their respective churches, leaving the faithful to follow the proceedings on TV and radio. Some churches streamed the celebrations online.
At Lubaga Cathedral, the Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga had less than 10 people excluding journalists who relayed the Palm Sunday mass live on radio and TV. The cathedral’s doors remained closed to the public.
And for the Holy Week, Lwanga issued a new set of guidelines that have to be adhered to in compliance with the government directives.
“The Chrism mass has been suspended; however, the mass of the Holy Supper will be celebrated in the cathedral at 4 pm and all our parish churches but without the faithful. The faithful are invited to follow the ceremonies via the media,” the Archbishop said.
“The washing of the feet and the procession of the holy sacrament should be made straight in the tabernacle in the church,” he added.
He said, the Church will hold the Way of the Cross processions on Good Friday but instead directed his flock to spend the day fasting.
“I declare Good Friday to be a day of intense prayer and fasting for all except those who are indisposed. I encourage you all to have the Way of the Cross in your respective homes,” Lwanga said.
At Namirembe, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Dr. Samuel Stephen Kazimba celebrated the day from his residence where he was joined by the Bishop of Namirembe, Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira.
Luwalira who was the main preacher castigated the security forces for their brutality in the name of enforcing President Museveni’s COVID-19 directives.