AFRICA/UGANDA - Commemoration of the Ugandan Martyrs: about four million faithful participate in the celebrations

Tuesday, 4 June 2024 martyrs   local churches  

Kampala (Agenzia Fides) - About 4 million faithful participated yesterday, June 3, in the Uganda Martyrs Catholic Shrine Basilica in Namugongo, in the celebrations in memory of the Ugandan Martyrs. The shrine is about 20 km from the capital Kampala.
This year's celebration was particularly significant because it marks 60 years since Pope Paul VI canonized a total of 22 Catholics and 23 Anglicans killed between 1885 and 1887 on the orders of King Mwanga II in the then Kingdom of Buganda. It is celebrated on June 3 in memory of the martyrdom of Saint Charles Lwanga, one of the 22 Catholics killed. This year the Ugandan diocese of Nebbi was in charge of the celebrations. On May 15, a delegation of about 700 pilgrims from Nebbi set out on foot in the rain to reach Namugongo. They covered almost 500 km in two weeks, crossing two sub-regions (Bunyoro and West Nile) and five counties (Pakwach, Kiryandongo, Nakasongola, Luwero and Kampala) before reaching the Catholic pilgrimage site.
They were accompanied by Msgr. Raphael p'Mony Wokorach, the outgoing Bishop of Nebbi and Metropolitan Archbishop-elect of Gulu. Msgr. Wokorach also celebrated the Mass with 20 other concelebrating bishops in a pavilion in the middle of an artificial lake, just a few hundred meters from the basilica built on the spot where St. Charles Lwanga was killed. In his homily, the Archbishop-elect warned the faithful not to allow themselves to be seduced by all forms of idolatry and practices that are not in keeping with the Christian faith, such as polygamy, witchcraft and genital mutilation, recalling that Ugandan martyrs preferred to die so as not to renounce their faith.
The celebration was attended not only by faithful from Uganda, but also from several other African countries (South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Botswana, South Africa) and from other continents (Argentina, Colombia, Australia and Denmark). The Mass was also attended by important state representatives, including President Yoweri Museveni. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/6/2024)