NAMUGONGO JUNE 6, 2017(CISA)-Thousands pilgrims from Uganda and beyond flocked the two Uganda Marty’s Shrines in Namugongo on June 3 to mark the annual Martyrs day.
The celebrations attracted pilgrims from all over the world with most of them walking some distance to Namugongo Shrine.
The pilgrims came from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, United States of America, Nigeria, Mexico, Malawi, Italy, Zambia, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada among others.
Bishop Vincent Kirabo of Catholic Diocese of Hoima, which led this year’s Martyrs’ day celebrations at the Catholic shrine, called on pilgrims to live in the footsteps of the Martyrs and reject individualism, corruption and greed.
In his homily, the Bishop urged the faithful to be faithful witnesses to the message of Christ just as the martyrs were.
“The Uganda Martyrs were ordinary people with admirable human qualities … because of these qualities they were leaders at the Kabaka’s palace,” Vatican Radio quoted the Bishop as saying.
He told the faithful that there is documented evidence that as Catechumens, the martyrs would sometimes forgo sleep at night to go to the house of the White Father Missionaries to learn the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Bishop also announced that documents for the beatification of the White Father missionaries, that is Fr ‘Mapeera’ Lourdel and Brother Amans who ministered to the Uganda Martyrs had been submitted to the Vatican.
The annual Martyrs Day celebration commemorates the heroic faith of the 45 Catholic and Anglican Martyrs who were burnt to death following the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II, the then King of Buganda between 1885 and 1887.
Twenty-two Catholic Martyrs were beatified on 6 June 1920 by Pope Benedict XV, and on 18 October 1964, Pope Paul VI canonised them Saints.
In addition to the Catholic Martyrs, there are two Catechists from Paimol: Blessed Daudi Okello and Blessed Jildo Irwa who were killed in 1918. The two were beatified by John Paul II on 20 October 2002.