Namugongo Uganda Martyrs Legacy
Its time again 3rd of June when many people from all walks of life throng to Namugongo to pray for the Uganda martyrs.
Many people have walked the entire distance from Gulu district about 300 km on foot . Gulu people are the chosen celebrant of year 2019. However its not only Gulu people but people from al parts of Uganda as far as Zombo, a district near DR Congo, to Kampala to honor the memory of 22 Catholic saints and the 23 Anglican martyrs who lost their lives because of their faith between 1885 and 1887.
Many people have been walking to this area place for last 3 – 4 year consecutively showing how determined they are with their faith. James said “I last walked in 2016,” he has told us , adding that “I walk because I want to identify myself with the martyrs who were killed at Namugongo”.
“I also want to pray to God to help me in some of my problems. Last time I got what I prayed for at Namugongo”.
James Ato is among thousands of pilgrims – some older, most younger – who are trekking from within Uganda and beyond for the annual Uganda Martyrs Day observance, set for June 3.
The Uganda Episcopal Conference, the umbrella assembly of catholic bishops in Uganda noted that apart from Ugandans, pilgrims are expected from the United States, Nigeria, Mexico, Malawi, Italy, Zambia, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Ireland and United Kingdom.
The construction of the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine began in 1967. It was completed and formally opened by the special Papal envoy, His Eminence Sergio Cardinal Pignedoli on 3rd June 1975. Thanks to the late former Archbishop Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga the author of the project, Dr. Danhinden the Architect and the ROKO Construction for the wonderful work done. When Pope John Paul II made a Pilgrimage to Namugongo on February 7, 1993, during his six -day visit to Uganda (5th -10th February 1993), he elevated the Shrine to a rank of a minor Basilica.
There are 24 Catholic Uganda Martyrs. The 22 martyrs were killed between 1885 and 1887 by Kabaka (King) Mwanga of Buganda in the South of Uganda; 13 of the martyrs were burnt to death at Namugongo. The twenty-two martyrs were beatified by Pope Benedict XV on 6th June 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on 18th October 1964. The other 2 martyrs were speared to death in Paimol, Gulu in the North of Uganda in October 1918. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II on 20th October 2002.
There are also Anglican martyrs that were killed by King Mwanga between 1885 and 1887 together with the Catholic martyrs. While paying tribute to the 22 Catholic martyrs Pope Paul IV also paid tribute to the Anglican martyrs in his homily at the canonisation. “And we do not wish to forget”, he said ,”the others who, belonging to the Anglican confession, met death for the name of Christ.”
All these martyrs are honoured on 3rd June every year and that is the best time to visit Uganda for safaris and enjoy , pray for yourself for blessings. Uganda is therefore blessed with many other religion sites mainly in Buganda and Busoga
Uganda’s cultural history has made it one of the most visited by
tourists. Culture here is rich and dynamic dating from from 15th century when the interlucustrine kingdoms were formed. People here are very hospitable and receptive to foreigners. Cultural sites such as Kasubi Tombs , Uganda Museum and Namugongo martyrs shrines have attracted both local and international tourists
As Uganda is at the wake of promoting Uganda’s tourism wealth can be discovered in the following national parks:
· Queen Elizabeth
· Semuliki, Kidepo .
· Lake Mburo National parks.
· Fresh water Lakes, and Rivers and Islands – Ssese Islands
· Other than parks there are natural forests- Budongo,Maramagambo,etc