Thousands converge at Namugongo for Martyrs Day

Thousands converge at Namugongo for Martyrs Day
Pilgrims at the Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo

Thousands of pilgrims on 3rd June, 2018 converged at both the Catholic and Anglican shrines in Namugongo to celebrate the lives of 46 Martyrs killed.

With an estimate of four million people flocking Namugongo this year, roads around both shrines were blocked and pilgrims alf-closed roads heavily guarded by security operatives. Some of the pilgrims are from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and other countries.

Every June 3rd, the faithful, especially Anglicans and Catholics, take part in a pilgrimage to the Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo from different corners of the world in commemoration of Martyrs.

The 22 catholic and 24 Anglican converts were killed between May and June 1886 on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda Kingdom. In October 1964, Pope Paul VI canonized the Uganda Martyrs.

The Anglican this year picked as its theme: “…Be faithful even to the point of death and I will give you the Crown of life.” It is derived from Revelations Chapter 2 Verse 10.

The Catholic Church on the other hand picked “Let us walk in the light of God as a family.” derived from 1 John Chapter 1 Verse 5.

At the Anglican shrine at Nakiyanja-Namugongo the lead organizing diocese is Greater Kigezi Diocese which comprises of Kigezi, North Kigezi, Muhabura and Kinkiizi.

At the Catholic Shrine, the celebrations will be led by Tororo Diocese. Tororo last presided over the martyrs day celebrations 20 years ago in 1998.

There is heavy police deployment at both shrines and along the road from Kyaliwajala trading centre. Vehicles are not allowed beyond Kyaliwajala and pilgrims have to walk to their respective shrines.

Christians were singing and dancing to songs ahead of the main service that was led by the Bishop of Kigezi Rt. Reverend George Bagamuhunda. President Yoweri Museveni attended both Shrines.

Some of the key dignitaries at Nakiyanja included Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, State Minister for Planning David Bahati, Former Presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye and others.