Christians Tuesday converged at the Uganda Martyrs' shrine at Munyonyo to commemorate the execution of the first of 22 martyrs, St Andrea Kaggwa
By Juliet Lukwago
Hundreds of Christians Tuesday converged at the Uganda Martyrs' shrine at Munyonyo in honour of St Andrea Kaggwa, one of the 22 Uganda Martyrs killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga for refusing to denounce the Catholic faith.
The christians were mainly from five provincial dioceses of Kampala Archdiocese that include Masaka, Kasana-Luweero, Kiyinda Mityana and Lugazi.
Masaka Diocese, one of the five provincial dioceses, led the celebrations that started with holy mass led by Bishop John Baptist Kaggwa and assisted by several top clergy.
In his homily, Bishop Kaggwa departed from the norm and instead narrated the saint's religious journey from Hoima to Kampala.
The prelate narrated;
Bishop of Masaka diocese, John Baptist Kaggwa (holding crook) with other bishops and priests after the celebrations at Munyonyo to mark St Andrea Kaggwa's Day on Tuesday May, 26, 2015. To his left is His eminence, Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala. PHOTO/JULIET LUKWAGO
"St. Kaggwa’s ancestral home was Kakumiro, in Bugangaizi County, Hoima Diocese. He was captured during tribal conflicts and taken to the Kabaka’s palace where he served as a page and soon became favourite among the top hierarchy.
He first practiced Islam before he became Anglican. When the Catholic Missionaries arrived in Uganda in 1879, he converted to Catholicism and was baptize on April 30, 1882. He wed his wife Kalala (Claire) Mbatudde. He became a religious instructor and converted many from other religions.
Although Kaggwa was his friend, the Kabaka ordered his guards to kill him once he refused to denounce Catholicism. He was first beheaded before the killers chopped him into pieces. He died on the afternoon of Wednesday May 26, 1886.”
As the patron of the catechists, the Bishop called upon the hundreds of catechists who attended the occasion to emulate him in their work of evangelization of the word of God.
“As we remember today the journey of Uganda Martyrs and the day Andrew Kaggwa and Dennis Ssebuggwaawo were killed, let’s emulate them and ask them to intercede for all us,” Kaggwa said.
He warned the catechists against drunkenness and becoming a nuisance.
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 catechists, school teachers and families.
Every year Christians gather at this place to mark the day the trek to Namugongo for the Martyrs'
The celebrations were attended by: Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, Bishop emeritus of Fort Portal Paul Kalanda, the Vicar General of Lugazi, Msgr Richard Kayondo who represented Bishop Christopher Kakooza; and the Vicar General of Kampala Archdiocese, Msgr Charles Kasibante, who represented Archbishop Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, among others.
Uganda Martyrs'' commemoration kicks off