Christians celebrate the feast of Uganda martyrs

By Emelda Siama John

Christians celebrated the feast of Uganda martyrs atSaint Charles Luwanga chapel CatholicArchdiocese of Juba, Holy Rosary parish on Thursday evening which would continue until tomorrow evening at Saint Kisto parish.

The 3th, June feast day of Charles Lwanga and the twelve others who died on 3th June 1886 was included in the General Roman Calendar, while the nine remaining martyrs were commemorated in the Roman Martyrologic on their respective dates of death.

Father Jackson Logusuk the main celebrant said, “We celebrate this day to renew our faith to God and to give thank to God for the gifts that He gave to saint Charles Luwanga and his people so that we could know God is present in everyone life”.

He narrated how they were killed on orders of Mwanga II, the Kabala (King) of Buganda because the king wanted them to worship his gods because they could only worship one God, the God of Jacob, the God of Isaac and the God of Abraham.

He stated that Mwanga instructed the killing of all the young men who disobeyed him – partly to satisfy the demands of the older chiefs. Twenty-two of the men who had converted to Catholicism, were burned alive at Namugongo in 1886.

“These young men died because of their faith in God, their love to God and their belief in God, were three things that make us daughters and sons of God and we should stand firm in the faith, that’s why they say blessed are the poor in the spirit for there’s the kingdom of heaven, blessed are the those who mourn for they will be comforted,” he added.

The Uganda Martyrs were a group of 23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics converted to Christianity in the historical kingdom of Buganda, now part of Uganda, who were executed between 31st January 1885 and 27th January 1887.

In the ceremony of canonization of the Catholic martyrs, Pope Paul mentioned  the Anglicans, saying: “Nor, indeed, do we wish to forget the others who, belonging to the Anglican confession, confronted death in the name of Christ.” The Basilica of the Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo was built in 1968.

The deaths took place at a time when there was a three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda royal court.

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