Thousands of pilgrims today gather at the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo and at the Anglican Shrine in Nakiyanja in remembrance of the Uganda Martyrs who were slain in 1886.
Mbarara Archdiocese has this time round organised this year’s celebrations at the Catholic shrine under the theme ‘I do not call you servants but friends,’ extracted from John 15:15.
“We are almost done with the arrangements and we are hopeful it is going to be a special day since we have put in place special arrangements,” said Mr Chris Byaruhanga, a member of the organising committee.
He said mass begins with a procession at 9:30am to be celebrated by his Grace Bishop Paul Bakyenga, the Archbishop of Mbarara Diocese and co-celebrants from both local and international countries. The Mbarara Diocese will animate the liturgy.
Every June 3, Christians make a pilgrimage to both the catholic and Anglican shrines to pay homage to the Uganda Martyrs who were executed by Kabaka Mwanga because of their Christian faith.
Pilgrims from several countries such as Rwanda, South Africa, US, UK, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Burundi among others, have trekked into the country to pay homage to the murdered martyrs.
The Uganda Martyrs were beautified on June 6, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV and canonised by Pope Paul VI on October 8, 1964 at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
President Museveni is expected to be the main guest and all the pilgrims are being subjected to a heavy security check.
Meanwhile President Museveni hailed ongoing efforts for the beautification and eventual canonisation of former Tanzania’s President Mwalimu Kambarage Julius Nyerere.
He said the cause for his beatification is not only based on his service to his country but to the entire East African region.
His speech was read by Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi during the Intercessional Prayers for the beatification and canonisation process at the Uganda Martyrs Church in Namugongo at the weekend.