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Luweero churches opt for daytime year end festivities

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Churches in Luweero town council have resolved to hold the end year of prayers during daytime. This is to ensure that celebrations do not contravene the standard operating procedures that were set by the Ministry of Health to keep COVID-19 at bay.

Over the years, believers from pentecostal churches have convened at Kasana playground in Luweero town for a night of prayer that starts on 31 December transitioning through New Years day. The Anglican and Catholic faithfuls have also been spending the night in their respective churches praying as they usher in the New Year.

However, overnight prayers and night movements are now restricted, implying that there is likely to be less activity during the New Year night. Uganda has been under a nighttime curfew running from 9 pm to 5:30 am while at the same time, gatherings that attract more than 200 people remain banned.

Pastor Morris Kigongo, the vice-chairperson of Luwero Pastors’ Fellowship says that over 150 pastors met on Tuesday and resolved to hold the prayers within their churches from 8 am to 6 pm under observance of standard operating procedures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Kigongo adds that this will also help the Christians to return home before the curfew time to avoid breaching the presidential directives.

Pastor Moses Yiga of Goshen Gospel Ministries in Luweero town says that after day time prayers at churches, Christians will be asked to continue with prayers at home as they usher in the New Year.

Our Lady of Fatima Queen of Peace Kasana Catholic Cathedral parish will hold the sole end of year holy mass between 6 and 7:30 pm.

Reverend Father Joseph Balikuddembe, the Curate at Our Lady of Fatima Queen of Peace Kasana Catholic Cathedral Parish says that it’s risky for the Church to hold prayers for longer hours because it may expose parishioners to COVID 19 virus.

He however said that the church will be open from 8 am to 4 pm to allow Christians to engage in private meditation with their God. The time from 4 to 5 pm has also been dedicated as a special holy hour.

By the time of compiling the story, administrators of the various churches were engaging in cleaning and final preparations ahead of the prayers tomorrow.

Isah Ssemwogerere, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson says that the police have no issue with the daytime prayers as long as they restrict the numbers to 200 people and observe SOPS. Ssemwogerere however cautioned bars and other entertainment places against organizing concerts and any events that may attract crowds.

Luweero district health department has registered 73 COVID-19 cases, 47 of which have recovered and 26 are still active. About 33 cases are civil servants attached at Uganda National Roads Authority, Luwero hospital, Central Police Station, district headquarters and Bukalasa Lands Offices.

Only 29 COVID 19 cases have been registered from the community.

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