By Juliet Lukwago
A team of 34 youth and teachers and board of governors from St Benedict’s Roman High School Alcester in UK, archdiocese of Birmingham on Thursday visited the historical Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo.
The team led by Tim Sarah the head teacher, comes as the Catholic Church in Uganda prepares to celebrate the Golden Jubilee since the Uganda Martyrs were canonized by Pope Paul VI on October, 18, 1964.
The promoter of Uganda Martyrs in Kampala archdiocese, Fr. Joseph Mukasa Muwonge who guided the tour explained how the Martyrs were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga.
The team toured both the Catholic and Protestant shrines and got an opportunity to see the spot where St Charles Kalooli Lwanga was murdered.
He said that St Charles Lwanga was born in the southern part of modern Uganda, and served as a page in Kabaka’s palace, and was also the leader of his colleagues.
Charles Lwanga and his colleagues were canonised in 1964 by Pope Paul VI, during a pastoral visit to Uganda.
Although the Anglicans could not be canonized, they were named "with the others, also deserving mention" for enduring "death in the name of Christ.
“Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo is located in central, Kira Municipality in Wakiso district.
The shrine marks the site where thirty two young men (Kabaka’s pages) were burned to death on June 3, 1886 for refusing to renounce their faith.
"Some of the men were Anglicans while others were Catholic,” Fr Muwonge said.
He said that on every June, 3, Christians from all all over the world congregate at Namugongo to commemorate the lives of the Uganda Martyrs and their dedication to their religious beliefs.
Crowds have been estimated in millions in different years.
Some of the youth; Liz Dillam and Emily Francis, say that they were blessed to visit this holy place because they have always seen photos and read about it on the internet.
“We have read about this place on the internet and always wondered which people gave their lives for their faith. Now we believe and are blessed too to pilgrim to the Holy place,” Dilliam and Francis said.
UK youth humbled by Namugongo Shrine tour