On Monday, thousands of Christian faithfuls thronged Namugongo to remember the day the Uganda Martyrs were killed some 127 years ago.
At the Catholic shrine, Archbishop Paul Bakyenga of Mbarara Archdiocese led the mass assisted by the clergy and members of the laity from the same archdiocese.
At the Anglican shrine, the main celebrant was Right Reverend Timothy Yahaya, a bishop from Nigeria, assisted by a team from Uganda Christian University, Mukono. The theme for this year is being “Faithful Witnesses to the End”, a scripture drawn from the book of Revelations chapter 7 verses 8-17.
While giving his Uganda Martyrs Day sermon at the Anglican Shrine in Namugongo today, he said expanding the church of Christ is what motivated the martyrs and the bishops should remain witnesses of Christ by expanding his church.
On his part, Bakyenga called upon legislators in the country not to formulate laws that contradict God’s word. This was a reference to homosexuality. There has been increased agitation by pro-and anti-homosexuality groups in the country. A proposed law against homosexuality practices attracted international attention and backlash.
Kampala Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga noted that Martyrs are a great pillar in the Christian faith and therefore deserve to be remembered by all Christians. He said that without their commitment to the faith, it would have faded during the Kabaka Mwanga II’s reign.
Present was also Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi who commended the Ugandan Martyrs for being brave and having set a foundation on which Christianity in Uganda stands.
Sekandi noted that the only way to celebrate the martyrs is by transforming their efforts into sustainable development for the country through tourism.
He pledged for government to collaborate with church’s effort to turn the Namugongo Shrine and all Martyr sites into tourism centres so that domestic and tourism and foreign visors can increase income for the church and state.