, 25 February, 2020 / 2:38 AM
A call for unity, peace and consistent prayers was the major highlight of this year’s national prayer day that was celebrated at the Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine Namugongo Sunday, February 23.
Church leaders belonging to the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), a Christian ecumenical organization in Uganda used the opportunity to remind thousands of Christians from across different denominations to pray for peace in the country that is headed for general elections next year.
Archimandrite Constantine Mbonabingi of the Orthodox Church in Uganda who doubles up as UJCC Executive Secretary stressed that the source of peaceful leaders in Uganda was a peaceful family.
“A family which has peace can produce faithful leaders,” observed Mbonabingi, adding, “This country needs peaceful soldiers and police officers; it is unfortunate that the gun is now used against civilians. We need peace within ourselves to fight all the forms of injustices in our society.”
The Bishop of Kasana Luweero diocese, Paul Ssemogerere, speaking on behalf of the Archbishop of Kampala archdiocese, Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, urged all that were gathered at the Ugandan shrine to pray for peace as well as to “remember our past, analyze it with maturity to strengthen our nationality.”
“As Christians, let us promote peace. Remember Jesus’ first word to his disciples after the resurrection was Shalom, meaning peace as we read in the Gospel according to John 20:17,” Bishop Ssemogerere said, adding, “Whatever we do or say must reflect Godliness and peace. The book of Genesis tells us we were made in God’s image.”
The Ugandan prelate called for inclusion of youth in leadership, saying, “Seventy percent of Uganda's population is made of youths. This group has to be included in the future plans of this country for sustainable peace.”
Referencing political aspirants for the 2021 Ugandan general elections, the Prelate said, “As we pray for peace in Uganda and elsewhere, we have to pray for all our leaders that they should advocate and promote all possible channels of peace. Let us also pray for those aspiring for national leadership positions to do the same.”
Ugandan president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, was represented by the Ugandan Deputy Attorney General, Jackson Kafuuzi, who said that elements of war would not be accommodated on a journey of peace and stability.
Organized by UJCC, this year’s national prayer was attended by Christians from different denominations in Uganda including Catholics, Anglicans, members of the Orthodox church, among other denominations.
Also present were religious men and women, political leaders as well as aspirants in the country’s coming election.
The national prayers shall be held annually and the Anglican church will organize the prayer in 2021, considered a year for political changes in Uganda.
Meanwhile, Fr. Raymond Kalanzi, a charismatic cleric with a prayer house in Najjanankumbi in Rubaga Division urged all leaders to exercise control and all the church ministers to pray and find possible solutions to all the political challenges that Uganda is facing through the intercession of Mary, the mother of the Church.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa