By Francis Jjunju
3rd June 2023
The Bishop of Jinja Diocese Charles Martine Wamika has congratulated pilgrims for making it, in huge numbers for this year’s 3rd June Uganda Martyrs day celebrations that they have demonstrated true love for their Catholic faith.
Drawing from The theme for this year; ‘Lord increase our Faith, Luke 15:7’ Bishop Wamika says the number of pilgrims believed to be in millions demonstrate their dedication to God, like Abraham, Mother Mary, Saint Joseph and the Uganda Martyrs’ led by Charles Lwanga did.
In his homily at the Catholic Shrine Namugongo, Bishop Wamika said Ugandans should never compromise their faith that calls for patience, service above self, forgiveness, love for others and family.
Saint Matia Mulumba practiced all faiths starting as a traditionalist, Muslim, Anglican and lastly as a Catholic, before his martyrdom on 27th May 1886 at Old Kampala in Kampala he abandoned the multiple partners or wives and remained with one as it’s required under the Catholic Holy Matrimony. His life should recon in the lives of most men who are violating their matrimonial vows.
On the Youth, the ordinary challenged them against misuse and getting addicted to the information age, and the children to pray for their parents to be in position to provide for their needs.
He praised the government for gazetting 3rd June as a public holiday to give the country opportunity to observe the martyrs day which is not only promoting its name internationally but also a source of income and at this point the ordinary challenges those who have profited from the martyrs day to pay their tithe to the Catholic Church.
Bishop Wamika says Church leaders have the duty to guide their flock and were possible to provide the necessary needs like accommodation for pilgrims as its elsewhere in the world which facilities are managed by the religious.
He was happy with the commitment of the Christians and people of Jinja for working together towards the successful preparation of the Uganda Martyrs’ day celebrations and promised to establish a Hospital named after Saint Charles Lwanga in memory of their second chance to animate the Martyrs day in 2023.
Bishops from the 19 dioceses of Uganda co-celebrated with him and the Pope Nuncio H. E. Luigi Bianco.
The Central government was represented by Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Gabula Nadiope IV the reigning Kyabazinga of Busoga.
Jinja diocese which had last animated 3rd June Uganda Martyrs’ day at the Catholic Shrine Namugongo in 2002, demonstrated a high level of preparation, led over 5000 foot pilgrims who walked over 80 Km from Jinja to Namugongo in three days, 600 number of choristers, presented unique decoration, offertory and a cross that will be erected in Namugongo in remembrance of the year 2023 when Jinja animated the martyrs day.
This year’s martyrs day draw pilgrims from all the seven countries of East African Community, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, US and Europe among others.
The 22 Uganda martyrs were killed between 1885 and 1887 by the then Kabaka Mwanga II, they were beatified in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV and canonized in 1964 by now Saint Pope Paul VI.