On December 6, a sizeable congregation of Catholics converged at St Andrew Kaggwa’s shrine in Munyonyo for an adoration mass.
It was a special mass, especially for the Apostles of the Divine Mercy, given the presence of relics (remains) of Pope Saint John Paul II and St Faustina Maria Kowalska, revered as the foundations of the divine mercy movement in the Catholic Church. Two casings, known in the church as ostensoriums – vessels used for a more convenient exhibition of objects of piety – rested on a small table placed in front of the altar.
Pope Saint John Paul’s relics were placed in a silver casing, carved in his image, carrying his favourite crosier, while Faustina’s are kept in a golden casing.
“These are first-class relics there is a drop of the blood of Pope John Paul II and a piece of bone of Sr Faustina,” Fr Marian Golab, aka Kajubi, a Polish priest who brought the relics, told The Observer.
Faustina, the founder of the divine mercy movement in the Catholic Church was a polish nun who lived between 1905 and 1938. She was canonized as a saint on October 30, 2000 by Pope John Paul II based on evidence from her writings and claims of having received visions of Jesus and conversed with him throughout her life.
The pope was canonized this year on Divine Mercy Sunday (April 27).
“Sr Faustina got the vision and John Paul II is the one who promoted it when he canonized her, and spread the message to the world. When he became Pope [in 1978], the first document he wrote was titled, God Rich in Divine Mercy,” Fr Golab said.
The adoration mass, celebrated by the head of the Divine Mercy movement in Uganda, Fr Achilles Mayanja, started at about 11am and went on up to about 2:40pm. His homily was mainly about his experiences both within and outside the country, urging his congregation to cast aside witchcraft and instead have trust in God’s mercy for solutions to their unemployment, marital and financial challenges.
“I started the adoration chapel at Lubaga cathedral based on the experience I got when I visited Poland, [and some states in the USA]. I am happy that since then, so many people are seeing miracles by simply sitting in that chapel and present their issues to Jesus in the Eucharist,” Fr Mayanja said.
After mass, the faithful took turns to venerate John Paul’s and Faustina’s relics. Some carried photographs of their departed ones, others carried items that they presented before the relics and asked for the intercession of the two saints.
“It is like we are with them here, because they are already saints they are in heaven seeing us and praying for us. Their relics are holy so, when you touch them, pray to them so that they intercede for you,” Resty Kizito, a Divine Mercy apostle, told worshippers.
“If you missed getting close to Pope John Paul II in 1993 when he [visited Uganda], by adoring his relics, it is like you are directly touching him,” Kizito added.
Some Catholics who had not received Holy Communion during mass had feared to get close to the relics until Fr Mayanja announced that everyone was free to venerate the saints. The relics will be presented at the Munyonyo Martyrs’ shrine every second Saturday of the month, but before the adoration services, priests will first conduct the sacrament of penance and reconciliation.
“This place [Munyonyo Martyrs shrine] is very important in the Catholic Church because it is here that the martyrs started their journey to Namugongo it is here that they got the inspiration it is here that judgment was passed for them to be killed as martyrs,” Fr Mayanja said of their choice for Munyonyo to be the centre of the adoration services.
Source : The Observer