Uganda Remembers Martyrs


buy geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>Hundreds of thousands are attending this year’s prayers, led by Mbarara Archdiocese.

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The theme for Monday’s celebration is “I do not call you servants but friends” Jn 15:15.

Security remains tight with counter terrorism personnel, Police and sniffer dogs being deployed in large numbers.

Chimp Corp Sam Wasswa who is at the venue says the celebrations are in high gear, apart from the untimely and shocking death of Reverend Charles Mugisha of Kagamba Parish, Ntungamo district.

He was knocked dead by a speeding car as he crossed the road at Namugongo shrines around 4:00am on Sunday.

Chimpreports understands Mugisha was part of the Mbarara Arch- Diocese team leading this year’s celebrations. He had earlier attended prayers at Namugongo.

Earlier Archbishop John Paul Bakyenga observed the martyrs were young people whose bravery must be emulated.

“Uganda is blessed with 24 holy martyrs. We want to use this chance to encourage young Ugandans to be courageous and emulate them,” said the Archbishop, adding, “Saints are supposed to inspire us.”

Bakyenga appealed to citizens living along highways to support pilgrims who will be walking to Namugongo this year.

Worldwide, the Catholic Church marks June 3rd as the feast of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, the martyrs of Uganda, East Africa. St. Charles Lwanga is singled out because of his leading role as a catechist and animator of the martyrs.

He even baptized some of them. In addition to traditional twenty two Martyrs of Uganda, God gave us more two Catechists from Paimol: Blessed Daudi Okelo and Blessed Gildo Irwa. So Uganda is blessed with twenty four martyrs. In his introduction to African Holocaust: the Story of the Uganda Martyrs, Bishop Joseph Willigers explains, “Saints are special gifts which God makes to the world.

They are given to Uganda not merely to be objects of our admiration to be safely locked away in a shrine or as a source of national pride.

“They are in the first place meant to inspire us and spur us on to be in our own times and to our own living signs of God’s saving power,” said Bakyenga.


He further noted that Charles Lwanga and his companions and the Blessed Catechists of Paimol lived lives much like our own, but had to make a choice that most of us will never face.

Between January 1885 and January 1887, Mwanga II had at least forty-five new Christian converts killed and the Blessed two Catechists were killed at Paimol in 1915.

The Church honors those who exhibit such courage, devotion, and selfless sacrifice for their faith as heroes, models of faith who intercede for the living before God.

The twenty-two Catholics who Kabaka Mwanga II killed for their faith were beatified on 6th June 1920, by Pope Benedict XV, and on 18th October 1964, in the presence of Bishops from all over the world who had gathered in Rome for the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI canonized them.

They are: Charles Lwanga, Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe, Matthias Kalemba, Luke Banabakintu, Noe Mawagali, Andrew Kaggwa, James Buzabaliawo, Pontian Ngondwe, Bruno Serunkuma, Anatole Kirigwajjo, Athanasius Bazzekuketta, Adolphus Mukasa Ludigo, Gonzaga Gonza, Achilles Kiwanuka, Ambrose Kibuka, Mukasa Kiriwawanvu, Mbaga Tuzinde, Gyavira Musoke, Mugaga Lubowa, Kizito, Denis Ssebuggwawo and Jean-Marie Muzeyi.

The two Blessed Catechist of Paimol, Daudi Okello and Gildo Irwa, were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 20th October, 2002. In the Catholic Church, the Martyrs are venerated for their heroism in professing and witnessing their faith and they have an intercessional role to those who are still struggling in life’s journey to join them triumphantly at the end of their earthly lives.


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