TOP
Saturday,November 17,2018 05:58 AM
  • Home
  • Opinion
  • Why Uganda declared February 16 Archbishop Janani Luwum Public Holiday

Why Uganda declared February 16 Archbishop Janani Luwum Public Holiday

By Admin

Added 16th February 2016 09:39 AM

His Grace the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali presided over the service. Uganda born first Black Archbishop of York in the Church of England, the Most Rev and Rt. Hon Dr. John Mugabi Sentamu was the special guest preacher.

Revcanonaaronmwesigye 703x422

Rev Canon Aaron Mwesigye is the Director of Religious Affairs of the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President

His Grace the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali presided over the service. Uganda born first Black Archbishop of York in the Church of England, the Most Rev and Rt. Hon Dr. John Mugabi Sentamu was the special guest preacher.



By Rev Canon Aaron Mwesigye

Last year February 16, 2015 marked the 38th Anniversary Commemoration of Archbishop-martyr Janani Luwum, the second African Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire and the second Bishop of Kampala Diocese, 1974-1977.

The 38th Anniversary of Archbishop-martyr Janani Luwum was marked by a historic and international commemoration service at the Martyr’s gravesite in Mucwini Church of Uganda in Kitgum District.

 
His Grace the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali presided over the service. Uganda born first Black Archbishop of York in the Church of England, the Most Rev and Rt. Hon Dr. John Mugabi Sentamu was the special guest preacher.

 
President Yoweri Museveni and the First Lady were pilgrims/guests of honour. It was during that service, according to the New Vision, Thursday, February 11, 2016 that President Museveni announced that February 16 would become ‘Janani Luwum Day’. The President said since the Uganda Martyrs was declared a public holiday, February 16 should also be a public holiday so that people can get time to celebrate his life.

 
This has been done and today, Tuesday, February 16 will be the first Archbishop Janani Luwum public holiday in Uganda.

 
Archbishop Janani Luwum Day: Public Holiday in Uganda

According to the New Vision above:

The Permanent Secretary of the Public Service Ministry, Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire, in a communication to the state broadcaster (UBC), said the process to mark the day as a public holiday in recognition of Luwum was complete. “The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service informs the general public that Tuesday February 16 will be a public holiday in recognition of Archbishop Janani Luwum”, the letter dated February 9, read in part.

 
Last year’s celebrations united politicians from the Opposition and the ruling NRM. Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda co-chaired the committee that organized the celebrations together with President Museveni’s critic and UPC faction president Olara Otunnu. Other co-chairs included senior presidential advisor and former premier Prof Apolo Nsibambi and Justice James Ogoola....and the Bank of Uganda governor, Emmanuel Mutebile, also attended the celebrations.

 
But who was Archbishop Janani Luwum? How great is he that his recognition should deserve a public holiday?

 t ev anan uwum installed ishop on une 16 1974 hotoile Rt. Rev. Janan Luwum installed Bishop on June 16, 1974. Photo/File

 



 Archbishop Janani Luwum: Martyrdom and biography

Archbishop Janani Luwum was born in 1924 in Mucwini, Chua, to Eliya Okello and Aireni Aciro. He was educated in Gulu High School and trained as a school teacher at Boroboro Teachers College, Lira. He accepted Christ as his personal Saviour in 1948, when he was a school teacher. Luwum’s conversion changed his life that the Leadership of the Chosen Evangelical Revival (CER) Movement encouraged and supported him to train for the ordained ministry of the Native Anglican Church (NAC).

 
Notably, late Evangelist Yusto and late Mama Josephine Amato Otunnu -- parents of Ambassador Olara Otunnu - were the pioneers of CER Movement in northern Uganda. They are the ones who led the young school teacher Janani Luwum to accept Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour in 1948.
 

Luwum enrolled for ordination training at Bishop Usher Wilson Theological College, Buwalasi, in present day North Mbale Diocese (Sironko District). In 1956, he was ordained Priest of then Upper Nile Diocese (which extended up to present day South Sudan) in St Phillips Church, Gulu. Thereafter, Luwum served as Parish Priest and Chaplain in a number of Parishes and Church Schools in Northern Uganda. In 1958/9, he went for the one- year Anglican leadership course at St Augustine’s College, Canterbury. On return, he was appointed tutor and rose to become deputy principal of his alma mater, Bishop Usher Wilson Theological College, Buwalasi, until 1962/3. After a brief stint as deputy principal at Buwalasi, Luwum returned to England for further studies at the London College of Divinity, now St John’s College, Nottingham. He completed the normal three-year diploma in Theology in two years!

 
On return home in 1965, Luwum was appointed the principal of Buwalasi, his alma mater, where he served until September 1966, when he was appointed provincial secretary to Archbishop Erica Sabiti, the first African Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga- Zaire. On 25th January 1969, he was consecrated and enthroned Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese.

 
In May 1974, Bishop Janani Luwum succeeded his mentor Archbishop Erica Sabiti, who had also become the first Bishop of Kampala Diocese, 1972-1973. Thus, Bishop Janani Luwum became the second African Archbishop of the Province of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire; and the second Bishop of Kampala Diocese. 
 

 t ev anan uwum with the nspector eneral of olice ryema standing by the car which was presented to the ishop on ebruary 25 1969 hotoile Rt. Rev. Janan Luwum(L) with the Inspector General of Police, Oryema standing by the car which was presented to the Bishop on February 25, 1969. Photo/File

 


On the February 16, 1977, Archbishop Janani Luwum was martyred at Nakasero by the regime of President, Gen Idi Amin Dada.

His body was taken to the Church yard at Wii Gweng, Mucwini, on February 19, 1977 where he was later buried. He is survived by his widow, Mama Mary Luwum, seven children, four sisters, two brothers and several grandchildren.
 

Archbishop Janani Luwum was the first sitting Archbishop in the entire Anglican Communion to be martyred in office, since Archbishops of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer and William Laud were martyred in office in 1556 AD and 1645 AD, respectively. Thus, his martyrdom on February 16, 1977 so motivated the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral that they established a Chapel to commemorate Modern Martyrs because of Luwum’s martyrdom in Uganda. Thus, Canterbury Cathedral/Church of England was the first ecclesiastical authority in the whole of the Anglican Communion to proclaim Archbishop Janani Luwum 20th Century African Martyr. Henceforth, Archbishop-martyr Luwum has been referred to as “Blessed Janani” in the Special Prayers (Collect) of the Church of England. The Modern Martyrs Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral was dedicated in July 1978 during Lambeth ’78.

In May 1982, Pope John Paul II became the first Pope to visit Canterbury Cathedral since the 16th Century. He and Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, knelt in the Chapel for Modern Martyrs — made possible by the martyr’s blood of Blessed Janani Luwum -- and prayed for Christian reconciliation.

In July 1998, Blessed Janani Luwum’s statue was unveiled on the West Wall of Westminster Abbey, London, among statues of 10 other 20th Century Martyrs.

The writer is the Director of Religious Affairs of the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity in the Office of the President

E-mail: ankundarev@yahoo.com

                                                                 

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles