KAMPALA- Tororo Diocese is finalising preparations to lead this year’s Uganda Martyrs Day Celebrations at Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo on June 3.
Last year, the Uganda Episcopal Conference selected Tororo Diocese in partnership with the various stakeholders to lead the celebrations under the theme; “Let Us Walk in the Light of God as a Family” (1 John 1:5-10)
According to Msgr Kevin Musisi, the Tororo Archdiocese vicar general and chairman Central Organising Committee, Tororo Archdiocese will animate the 2018 celebrations on behalf of Tororo Ecclesiastical Province which comprises of the Dioceses of Jinja, Kotido, Moroto, Soroti and Tororo.
He explained that the 2018 celebration will be held concurrently with the 100 year’s celebration of the martyrdom of the two Catechists from Paimol: Blessed Daudi Okello and Blessed Jildo Irwa who were killed in 1918.
“The two Blessed Martyrs are usually commemorated on 18th, October but they will be remembered in a special way on 3rd, June, 2018,” said Msgr Musisi.
Speaking to PML Daily 20 May, Msgr Musisi said the Tororo ecclesiastical Archdiocese under Bishop Dr Emmanuel Obbo will lead mass during the celebrations.
He added that several activities have been held by the UEC coordinated by the animating Archdiocese to raise US$198,029 (an equivalent of shs. 720m) that is required for the preparations and actual celebrations.
“And I want to report that we are at 90% preparations, we have also raised about Shs 650m out of the shs 720m required, all things have been put in place. We are also ready to walk in the footsteps of the martyrs, a walk of faith and prayers as we proclaim to the world the dignity of the martyrs and what they went through, “said Msgr Musisi.
The Tororo diocese Archbishop Dr Emmanuel Obbo, more than 4,000 pilgrims from the Archdiocese have already registered for this year’s foot pilgrimage to Namugongo.
Dr Obbo He explained that the diocese has already prayed for and blessed the pilgrims and that these will be flagged off for the walk of faith on 25 June; “this will take them about a week to arrive at Namugongo Catholic Martyrs Shrine”.
Fr Vincent Lubega, the Namugongo Catholic Shrine rector said the church has organised martyrs walk on May 27, in Kampala which will start from Munyonyo Shrine to old Kampala Parish.
“We are on schedule in our preparations since more than 75 per cent of the budget has been realised. And by yesterday, no pilgrim had arrived but we are expecting them any time and we are ready for the celebrations,” said Fr Lubega 21 May.
Fr Lubega explained that the choir uniforms have also been tailored to match the colours of the church and Uganda martyrs.
“Yellow and white are the colours of the Catholic Church while red is for the martyrs. It symbolises the blood of the martyrs while yellow represents light and is the Vatican colour,” Fr Lubega said.
Every year, on June 3, Christians from different parts of the world make their way to two shrines in Namugongo, some 15 kilometres east of Kampala city.
Catholic Martyrs were beatified on 6th June, 1920, by Pope Benedict XV, and on 18th October, 1964, Pope Paul VI canonized them as Saints.
The celebration usually brings together millions of pilgrims from across the globe. Tororo last presided over the Martyrs Day celebrations in 1998.
The shrines are commemorative grounds for the Uganda Martyrs — Catholic and Anglican Christian converts who were killed at the orders of Kabaka Danieri Basammula-Ekkere Mwanga Mukasa II between November 1885 and January 1887