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(by Pelegrine Otonga) [Picture: Bishop Wanok displays Lira Foot Pilgrims souvenir T-shirt]

The Lock-down due to the coronavirus pandemic is reason for God’s wish for mankind to have the opportunity to attentively listen and transmit His message of unity, reconciliation and morality to others.

This was the opening remarks of the Bishop of Lira Diocese, Rt. Rev. Santo Lino Wanok in the Eucharistic prayer to commemorate the June 3rd Uganda Martyrs Day for Lira Diocese that was streamed live on Radio Wa. The prayer was the first time the Bishops celebrated with a handful of Christians in line with the health emergency standards given by the government and ministry of health.

Bishop Wanok said attentive listening is very important for followers of Christ because it enables them to be spiritually empowered to reject disunity, immorality and be filled with love and reconciled with God. He appealed to the leaders to observe their choice of words so as not to divide the people but to keep them united in their families and societies.

Speaking on immorality, Bishop Wanok lamented on how sex workers have during the Covid-19 lock-down become officially recognized group in society, saying, the act is an abuse of God’s creation. He said to God sex is for procreation but not for pleasure or material gains. He commended the Uganda Martyrs for living up to their moral values by rejecting the homosexual behavior of the Kabaka by then, leading to their martyrdom. He regretted that most of the Christians were still abandoning the Gospel values for cultural practices which is a challenge to the catechists and the priests to do more catechesis.

Speaking about Lira Cathedral Church that is dedicated to the Uganda Martyrs, Bishop Wanok said more money is still needed to complete its refurbishment. He prayed that God should show the way and bless those who are toiling in their fields to reap big and be able to help the church. He thanked the Lira Diocese Foot Pilgrims who due to the lock down could not make it on foot to Namugongo but kept their spirit alive through Radio Wa programs.

Meanwhile, the Chaplain of Lira Diocese Pilgrims Rev. Fr. Peter Paul Okutta said the lock-down that led to the cancellation of the pilgrimage on foot came as “blessing in disguise” because it would have been a big challenge for the organizers to handle the journey of over 800 plus pilgrims who were this year expected for the walk of faith.