UGANDA: Over 1000 Foot Pilgrims Begin Journey to Namugongo After Two Year Hiatus


NAMUGONGO, MAY 27, 2022 (CISA) – Rt. Rev Robert Muhiirwa of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Portal flagged off over 600-foot pilgrims to Namugongo from the Virika Cathedral of Our Lady of Snows, Fort Portal, on May 23.

“They are expected to reach Namugongo on 31st May 2022, the bishop moved together with Pilgrims for about 5km. We wish them a safe and blessed journey,” read a Facebook post by Uganda Catholics Online.

On the night of May 16, 467 pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Lira set off for Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, a journey, which will see them cover over 350 kilometres to Kampala.

Among the faithful journeying to Namugongo for the Martyrs Day 2022 celebrations on June 3, is Hagata Nyinabutagwiira, aged 72 years from Kanyamukale Catholic Parish in the diocese of Fort Portal. According to Uganda Catholic Online, she has done the foot pilgrimage for 11 years and this year would be 12 years of her walking in deep contemplation seeking the intercession of the Holy Martyrs of Uganda.

“I have always walked under the protection of the Blood of the Martyrs, a gift of faith which has become a source of blessings and strength to me and my family,’’ she said.

She is joined by Mzee Bernaldo Tibyangye, at 100 years, he has done 51 pilgrimages to Namugongo from Bushenyi District in Western Uganda.

Uganda’s Martyrs’ Day commemorates the late 19th-century martyrdom of a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic men who were ordered by then-King of Buganda Mwanga II to be put to death for having converted to Christianity. After a two-year break, this year’s celebrations will be animated by the Catholic Diocese of Fort Portal.

Fr Joseph Mukasa Muwonge, the head and promoter of the Devotion of the Uganda Martyrs in the Catholic Archdiocese of Kampala, reminded the pilgrims  “The honor of the sacrifice of the Martyrs remains a challenge to each one of Us, and that’s a call for us to imitate their example such that our struggle in faith is not in vain but a fruitful spiritual struggle.”