Killing spots of Uganda Martyrs

Monday June 1 2020

Uganda Martyrs Shrine Parish Namugongo

Uganda Martyrs Shrine Parish Namugongo  

This year marks a century since the first Pilgrimage to Namugongo. Though the annual pilgrimage has been postponed this year due to restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus, this year marks a significant milestone in the history of Uganda martyrs. In 1920 a Dutch Catholic priest, Fr Stephen Walters from Nsambya, organised the first official pilgrimage to Namugongo. Fr Joseph Mukasa Muwonge, the promoter of the devotion to the Martyrs in the Catholic Church, said the first group of pilgrims was a handful. “They were about 10 people who made the first pilgrimage. But at the time those were many people.” The Pilgrims started from Nsambya Parish under which Namugongo fell. At the time there was no Church in Namugongo; instead it was in Kyaliwajjala where Vienna College is today. The first pilgrims came on the day Rome beatified the Ugandan Catholic martyrs, as part of the canonization process.

Mwanga II, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda ordered the killings which took place at a time when there was a three-way religious struggle for political influence at the Buganda royal court.

THE HISTORY OF THE PARISH

The Uganda Martyrs Shrine Parish Namugongo started as a sub-parish of Nsambya with a grass thatched church at Kyaliwajjala Trading Centre, about a kilometre from the current location of the shrine.

On June 6, 1920, as the Uganda Martyrs were being beatified in Rome, a young Dutch priest, Rev Fr Stephen Walters together with a group of pilgrims from Nsambya made a pilgrimage to the site where St Charles Lwanga was martyred. It was during this pilgrimage that the priest conceived the idea of acquiring land and building of a church at this very spot.

Charles Lwanga was killed at the present day Namugongo Catholic Martyr’s Shrine. Lukka Baanabakintu, Yakobo Buuzabalyawo, Gyaviira, Kibuuka Ambrosio,Anatoli Kirigwajo, Mukasa Kiriwawanvu, Achileo Kiwanuka, Kizito Omuto, Adolofu Mukasa Ludigo, Mugaga, Bruno Sserunkuma and Mbaga Tuzinde, were Catholics.

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Kadoko Alexanda, Kifamunyanja, Kiwanuka Giyaza, Kizza Frederick, Kwabafu, Mukasa Lwakisiga, Lwanga, Mubi-azaalwa, Robert Munyagabyangu, Muwanga Njigija, Danieri Nakabandwa, Nuwa Walukaga and Wasswa all Anglicans were burnt at Nakiyanjja in Namugongo.

OTHERS
Noah Mawagali (Catholic) was killed at Kiyinda Mityana. His hands were cut off and fed to the dogs.

Kayizzi Kibuuka, Mayanja Kitoogo, and Muwanga, all Anglicans, were killed at different spots in Mityana District.

Fact

The 22 canonized Catholic martyrs were part of the 45 Christians, killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga for their faith between January 31, 1885 and January 27, 1887.
Most of the killing was done at Namugongo, which had been gazetted as a killing field by Buganda’s 25 king Kyabaggu Kabinuli, who reigned from 1750 to 1780. Killings also happened in places as far as Mityana, Munyonyo, Mengo Kisenyi, Busega among others.

January 31, 1885
Three Anglican martyrs, Mako (Mark) Kakumba, Joseph Lugalama and Noah Sserwanga were killed at Busega. They were burnt.

May 27, 1886
Eriya Mbwa, Muwanga Daudi and Muddu-aguma, all Anglicans, were killed at Mengo.

May 27, 1886

Mathias (Matia) Kalemba Mulumba (Catholic) had his body dismembered and left for dead at old Kampala.

May 27, 1886
Athanasius Bazzekuketta (Catholic) was killed at Nakivubo the same spot were Joseph Balikuddembe was killed.

November 15, 1885

Joseph Mukasa Balikudembe (Catholic) was burnt at Nakivubo, now St Balikudembe market.

May 26, 1886
Gonzaga Gonza was speared to death at Lubaawo in Kireka

May 26, 1886
Ponsiano Ngondwe was killed at Taka Jjunge just one mile from Munyonyo on Salama road.

May 26, 1886
Denis Ssebugwawo was killed just outside Mwanga’s Palace in Munyonyo.

May 25, 1886
Musa Mukasa an Anglican was killed at Mulungu landing site in Munyoyo.

45: In total there are 45 Ugandan martyrs, 22 Catholics who became saints and 23 Anglicans.
1967: The year, His Eminence Emmanuel Cardinal Nsubuga decided to build a befitting Martyrs monument; the current Martyrs Shrine.

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