By Juliet Lukwago
Christians from different dioceses in Uganda on Monday thronged Munyonyo Shrine on the outskirts of Kampala, in memorial of the place where the journey of the Uganda Martyrs started.
They also remembered, as part of activities leading to the commemoration of Uganda Martyrs Day to be celebrated on June 3, two other Catholic Martyrs; St Andrew Kaggwa and Dennis Ssebuggwaawo who were killed at Munyonyo by Kabaka Mwanga.
The Catholic Church chose Andrew Kaggwa the patron Saint of the catechists, school teachers and families.
Over 300 catechists from Kampala provincial dioceses including Kampala Archdiocese, Masaka, Kasana-Luweero, Lugazi and Mityana attended the function.
Faithfuls pray at Munyoyo to mark the day the first Uganda Matryrs, St Andrew Kaggwa and Dennis Ssebuggwaawo were killed. Photo/Juliet Lukwago
This year the celebration was organised by Kasana-Luweero diocese. It started with a Holy Mass led by Bishop Paul Ssemwogerere, assisted by others including Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Auxiliary bishop of Kampala Christopher Kakooza, the Bishop of Lugazi Matthias Ssekamanya, Monsignors and priests from several parishes in the dioceses.
Every year Christians gather at this place to mark the day the trek to Namugongo for the Martyrs' execution started.
Bishop Ssemwogerere, during his homily, said that the Martyrs redeem the image of our country despite being known as as a corruption riddled, HIV stricken and former dictator Idi-Amin Dada.
“When you go abroad many who associate our country with corruption, HIV/AIDS and Amin are now asking us about the Uganda Martyrs,” Bishop Ssemwogerere said.
Ssemwogerere expressed concern that some parents have deserted family responsibility. He said parents do not discipline their children saying that they do not have time at all, no longer even praying with them.
“Many parents do not take their responsibilities seriously, saying they don’t have time, apart from looking for money. As we remember today the journey of Uganda Martyrs and the day St Andrew Kaggwa and Dennis Ssebuggwaawo were killed, let’s emulate them and ask them to intercede for all us,” Ssemwogerere said.
He castigated family misunderstandings in families where parents do shameful things in front of their children like fighting.
“As we remember this journey of our loved Martyrs lets emulate them and most especially Kaggwa who was married like other couples to intercede for us,” Ssemwogerere said.
Ssemwogerere said St Andrea Kaggwa (Andrea Kahwa) was a Munyoro from Bugagaizi now in Hoima diocese.
He said that he was one of the Uganda Roman Catholic Martyrs killed because of their faith on May, 26, 1886.
He was Kabaka Mwanga's bandmaster-General, known as the Mugowa. He was baptized on April 30, 1882 by Pierre Lourdel (known as Mapeera) at Nabulagala.
The day he met his death, he was arrested at his home and taken to the Chancellor who ordered his execution.
“Kaggwa’s home was turned into a church where other Christians used to go for their catechism lessons. Kaggwa's arm was first cut off and taken to Mukasa before he was beheaded and hacked to pieces here in Munyonyo. He died in the afternoon of Wednesday May 26, 1886.” Ssemwogerere narrated.
The Archbishop of Kampala, Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga called upon Christians to love reading the Uganda Martyrs' biography to know them better.
He said that it shaming the Christians in Uganda where the martyrs were killed to be iliterate about them.
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Christians mark the start of Uganda Martyrs'' execution