UGANDA MARTYRS' DAY
KAMPALA - Celebrations marking the Uganda Martrys' Day due this Saturday at Namugongo have kicked off with prayers for the beatification of fallen Tanzanian leader Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
Nyerere, revered in Tanzania and across the continent, died 18 years ago, having previously led Tanzania between 1964 and 1985 as the East African nation's first president.
His wife, Maria Nyerere, aged 87, attended a special service Thursday at the Namungongo Catholic Shrine as the former statesman is being lined up for beatification – an early phase towards canonization or sainthood.
She was welcomed by Fr. Vincent Lubega, the parish priest of Namugongo.
President Yoweri Museveni too attended the prayers.
The special service, attended by several other high profile people, was led by Kampala Archbishop Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga.
Pilgrims from Tanzania that had trekked all the way to Uganda for the Martyrs' Day celebrations were also part of the congregation, as were Namilyango Junior Boys pupils and other faithful.
Pilgrims continue to make their way to Namugongo ahead of the Martyr's Day, marked every June 3 to celebrate the lives of 22 Catholic and Anglican Christians killed several decades ago on the orders of then-Buganda king Mwanga because of their commitment to their faith.