By Vision Reporter
It is Martyrs Day! Martyrs’ Day celebrations.
Over 10, 000 pilgrims from all over the world are gathered at the Namugongo Catholic Shrine to pay homage to the 22 Catholics and the 23 Anglicans who were killed by Kabaka Mwanga in 1886.
The clergy make their way down to the main celebratory area
All is set for the mass at Catholic shrine. Christians singing songs of praise and those hailing the Martyrs.
The main celebrant is the new Bishop of Kotido Diocese Giuseppe Filippi.
Auxilliary Bishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Christopher Kakooza
He is Provincial Superior of the Comboni Missionaries in Uganda.
The Bishop was born on March 17, 1945 in the Archdiocese of Trent in Italy.
The main celebrant was Giuseppe Filippi (with Crook). Infront of him is His Eminence Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala
He studied Philosophy and Theology at Ggaba National Major Seminary in Uganda. Guiseppe Filippi made his final profession in the Congregation of the Comboni Missionaries on April 28, 1977 and was ordained a priest in 1978.
The weather was fair though out the day as a pigeon patched atop the main celebratory area
Following his ordination, the Bishop elect served as Provincial Vocations Director for the Comboni Missionaries in Uganda, and served in the diocese of Moroto.
A troupe from Kotido diocese performs at Namugongo
He also served at the Diocesan Minor seminary in Nadiket (Moroto Diocese), secretary general of the first and second diocesan synods of Moroto Diocese.
Kampala Metropolitan Police boss Andrew Felix Kaweesi was at hand to oversee security
He was also the Assistant to the Superior General of the Comboni Missionaries in Rome, and later the Novice Master for the Comboni Missionaries in Zambia.
The gospel has been read in akarimojong
A Counter Terrorism officer looks through binoculars as security was top priority
The gospel was followed by a hymn from the Kotido Diocese choir
At 10:05 am President Yoweri Museveni arrived to take part in the celebrations to mark the day
The scripture was read from the book of Romans 8:31 which says: What then shall we say of these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Pilgrims trekked from all over the country to commemorate the Uganda Martyrs
The main celebrant Bishop Giuseppe Filippi starts celebrating mass
Delivering the sermon to thousands of celebrants, Bishop Giuseppe Filippi preached against worshipping money and power.
Pilgrims queue to enter the shrine grounds
“If there is no corruption, Uganda would be the best country to live in. If we say no to injustice, our communities will live in peace and harmony,” Bishop Giuseppe Filippi said.
He hailed the Martyrs for their trust and faith in God when they refused to partake actions that could have separated them from God.
President Museveni arrives at the Catholics martyrs' shrine
“Martyrs understood that salvation comes from the blood of Christ. We have come to Namugongo to learn how to live on the love of God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God,” the Bishop said.
President Museveni greets the late Julius Nyerere's wife
Giuseppe implored the rich to share their wealth with the poor citing the Martyrs who were committed to sharing what they had learnt with others and opened their houses to the sick.
“Let us learn to live the love of God and as we leave this place, we ask God to commit ourselves to become God fearing Christians. May the love, peace and prosperity be upon all of us,” he prayed.
Addressing the congregation, President Yowri Museveni commended Kotido Diocese for organizing this years’ Martyrs Day.
The clergy greet President Museveni at the end of the mass
“I want to thank the Karimojongs for singing very well today. They have also attempted to be Christians,” Museveni.
The President welcomed pilgrims from Malawi, South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Nigeria.
Museveni flanked by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi leaving the shrine after mass
He said as Pan Africanist, Martyrs Day celebrations bring together Africans in the region. “I have no apologies for being a Pan Africanist. I have believed in that and nobody will make me change my mind. I feel happy when I see this unity of Africans taking shape in this part of the continent,” Museveni said.
The President challenged religious leaders to champion the fight against poverty by embracing programs geared towards improving household incomes.
Here is the LIVE Twitter feed from the celebrations