By John Agaba and Juliet Lukwago
The Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, together with his counterpart Stanley Ntangali, the archbishop of the church of Uganda,on Wednesday, broke the ground for the foundation of the Uganda Martyrs Museum estimated to cost sh36b.
As part of the activities to commemorate the Uganda Martyrs Day due June 3, next week Tuesday, the Christian leaders, accompanied by several other bishops of both the Catholic and Anglican faiths, also paid homage to both the Catholic and Anglican martyrs’ shrines, located in Namugongo.
The clerics toured the execution sites, first at the Catholic Shrine, and second at the Anglican Shrine. Stanley Ntagali preached at the Catholic Shrine, and Cyprian Kizito Lwanga at the Anglican Shrine.
The Rev. Fr. Joseph Mukasa Muwonge, promoter of the Uganda Martyrs devotion, took the bishops through the martyrdom of the holy martyrs, from the time Kabaka Mwanga decided enough was enough with his ‘rebel’ subjects and decided to execute them in 1885 to 1887. He told their (martyrs) story from Munyonyo to Namugongo, where they were put on the pyre and burnt to ashes.
Ntagali said: “the martyrs are our symbol of faith. They made Uganda proud by sacrificing their lives for what they believed in.”
“As Christians, we should emulate them, and love God, and preach love, hate hatred, jealousy and other habits that make us unclean in the eyes of God,” Ntagali said.
Lwanga, who is also the leader of the Uganda Joint Christian Council, challenged the clerics to encourage their Christians to pay pilgrimages to Namugongo.
“People come all the way, from abroad, to see where the martyrs died. And what about us? Do we come to make a pilgrimage? It does not have to be on the Martyrs Day. You can come any time. Let us promote what our forefathers (martyrs) started,” Lwanga said.
The Archbishop preached against domestic violence, misuse of alcohol, and environmental degradation. He advocated for transparency, accountability, and equality.
“Statistics show that domestic violence is on the increase, that about 60% of women are beaten by their husbands. But, these days, there are cases of women who also beat their husbands. The theme for this year’s celebrations is you are the salt of the earth and light of the world. As children of God, we need to promote Christian values. And we can learn from our martyrs. We need faith, hope and love.”
Lwanga, Ntagali tour Namugongo Shrines