NAMUGONGO, MAY 29, 2015 (CISA) – Bishop Joseph Franzelli of the Catholic Diocese of Lira has led over 300 pilgrims from Lira town in Uganda on a 350 kilometer journey on foot to Namugongo shrine ahead of the annual Martyrs Day celebration on June 3.
More than 2,500 pilgrims from Tanzania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, DR Congo and Malawi are among those that have confirmed their participation.
The liturgical celebration under the theme ‘Called to be witnesses of Christ in the family and society’ will be lead by Lira Diocese in Uganda which last led the celebration in 1999.
According to Vatican radio, Fr Vallente Innocent Opio, the Lira Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator said that the pilgrims are expected to arrive to their destination at Namugongo on June 1.
He added that there was a spiritual programme to be followed during the journey and that there would be sto-povers where pilgrims would spend a night or two to get some rest.
Martyrs day is a day that Christians all over the world pay homage to the 45 Ugandan Martyrs who were burned to death following an order by King of Buganda, Kabaka Mwanga II between 1885 and 1887 because he was outraged by the conversion of young Ugandan men to Christianity.
The 22 Martyrs who were Catholics were canonized on October 18 1964 by Blessed Pope Paul VI in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.