For the first time in the history of the church, Christians have celebrated Easter – the resurrection of Jesus with closed churches as governments around the world enforce social-distancing restrictions to curtail the spread of the coronavirus diseased.
Because of the pandemic, iconic places like St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican remained empty of pilgrims. St Peter’s Basilica itself was nearly empty as Pope Francis celebrated the Easter Sunday mass.
The case was not any different in Uganda. Clerics celebrated the day behind closed churches as the Kampala Archbishop, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga has asked Christians to continue fasting as the country fights the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lwanga had a handful of priests at Lubaga Cathedral, the seat of his archdiocese as he urged his church’s adherents to take part in several charity works including helping the needy, orphans, repenting as well as fasting as the country continues with efforts to defeat COVID-19.
In Luwero, the Anglican Bishop of Luweero Diocese, Eridard Nsubuga Kironde said that the COVID- 19 pandemic should be a lesson to all the Christians to glorify God rather than their money.
Nsubuga Kironde celebrated his Easter service with his family in a chapel at his residence said, the pandemic presents an opportunity for everyone to rethink their relationship with God than glorifying earthly possessions.
At the neighbouring Roman Catholic Diocese of Kasana-Luweero, Bishop Paul Ssemwogerere celebrated the mass with selected priests and nuns behind closed doors of Our Lady Queen of Peace Cathedral.
The Bishops said that although it was unusual and the first time for them not to celebrate Easter with Christians, it was necessary for sake of containing the spread of the virus.
In Masaka, the Masaka Catholic Diocesan Bishop Serverus Jjumba challenged Ugandans to use the current lockdown to take deep reflections and reform their way of life.
The prelate lockdown has coincided with times when the many Christians are backsliding in their faith and instead put much of their focus at satisfying themselves with material wealth and pleasantries.
He observed that apparently, many people are mistaking the feast of Christ’s resurrection as moments of merrymaking without reflecting on the true significance of the day to the church and their faith.
Referring to the Biblical story of when Jesus, upon resurrection, appeared before women, the Bishop said that had Jesus risked to first present himself to men, they would keep the good news to themselves and instead go to bars.
At Kako, the seat of West Buganda Anglican Diocese, Bishop Henry Katumba Tamale preached to empty seats in St Paul’s Cathedral where he offered a universal prayer in which he venerated for the sick, response teams and all persons that have severally been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.
Bishop Katumba urged to Christians that despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic, they should remain hopeful the situation will return to normal.