The Greater Kigezi group was received at Namugongo by former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, the vice chairperson of the organizing committee of this years Martyrs Day celebrations. The four Dioceses will jointly lead the June 3 service at Namugongo Anglican Martyrs Shrine this year.
The group comprises 120 women, 90 Men and three children from the districts of Kabale, Kinkizi, Rukiga and Rukungiri, among others. They arrived in smaller groups, some pacing ahead of others who looked seeming exhausted after the long walk. A few others are still on the way, expected to arrive on June 1.
The Greater Kigezi group was received at Namugongo by former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, the vice chairperson of the organizing committee of this year's Martyrs' Day celebrations. The four Dioceses will jointly lead the June 3 service at Namugongo Anglican Martyrs Shrine this year.
A cross-section of the group members recounted their journey with enthusiasm, narrating how prayer, patience, faith and commitment helped them to remain strong and focused. Boaz Murekyezi, one of the pilgrims says that they equally encountered several challenges.
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Mbabazi h assured the pilgrims that the organisers were making progress in ensuring that all required services are available ahead of the celebrations.
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The annual pilgrimage in honor of the Martyrs attracts over two million people from all around the world, including countries like Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and the DRC, as well as European countries and the Americas.
Over the years pilgrims walk the journey of faith from different parts of the country to the Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo. The pilgrimage is in remembrance of the suffering and death of 45 religious converts who were killed by Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda for defending their faith, between 1885 and 1887.
They included 23 Anglicans and 22 Catholics who were beatified on June 6, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV and later canonized and elevated to sainthood on October 18, 1964 by Pope Paul VI. A decade earlier in around 1876, it is believed that more than 74 Muslims were also killed at the same spot on the orders of Mwanga's father, Kabaka Mutesa I.
The Anglican martyrs include Mark Kakumba, Joseph Lugalama, Nuwa Sserwanga, Noah Walukagga, Alexander Kadogo, Moses Mukasa, Frederick Wigram Kizza, Elias Mbowa, Daniel Nakabandwa, and Robert Munyagabyanjo.
Others are Mubiazaalwa, Lwanga, Mukasa Lwakisiga, Kiwanuka Giyaza, Wasswa, David Muwanga, Kwabufu, Kifamunnyanja, Muwanga Njigija, Kayizzi Kibuuka, Omuwanga of Gabunga, Muyanja Katoogo and Muddugguma. The church also added onto the list Bishop James Hannington who was killed in Busoga in October 1885 and Archbishop Janani Luwum killed in February 1977.