Catholic Church seeks  Shs1b for Martyrs Day fete

Pilgrims at Namugongo during 2019 Martyrs Day celebrations. PHOTO/ FILE 

What you need to know:

  • The diocese was chosen to lead this year’s celebration after a two-year lull due to Covid-19 induced lockdown.
  • Bishop Muhiirwa yesterday appealed to Christians and his colleagues to help in raising the funds, noting that Covid-19 has greatly affected the economy.

Fort Portal Diocese has launched a drive to raise up to Shs1 billion for the 2022 Uganda Martyrs Day celebrations at Namugongo Martyrs Shrine.
The annual event pays homage to the 22 Catholic and 23 Anglican martyrs, who were executed for their faith on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda between 1885 and 1887.

The diocese was chosen to lead this year’s celebration after a two-year lull due to Covid-19 induced lockdown. Uganda went into lockdown in March 2020, three months ahead of the celebration and with the cancellation of all gatherings, the last two years had only a handful of people invited to celebrate at Namugongo, while the rest observed the day from home.
While launching the drive yesterday, the Bishop of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese, Rt Rev Robert Muhiirwa, said the diocese is reaching out to all people of goodwill to support their efforts in raising funds.

“As a diocese, we have made some calculations and we need close to Shs1 billion to be able to successfully lead this function well at Namugongo,” Bishop Muhiirwa said.
Gulu Archdiocese was the last in the country to have publicly led the celebrations in 2019 before the country went into lockdown. The Archdiocese spent up to Shs900 million to lead the celebrations.
Bishop Muhiirwa yesterday appealed to Christians and his colleagues to help in raising the funds, noting that Covid-19 has greatly affected the economy.

Bishop of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese, Rt Rev Robert Muhiirwa


He asked Christians to remain united in their faith, just like the martyrs when they faced difficulties and threats from the Kabaka of Buganda.

“This is a puzzle to the bishops and to the Christians that we have a lot to learn from Uganda Martyrs. These were young people who embraced their faith, they had great faith in the Lord, great love in the Lord and they also worked together,” he said.
“I believe we too can work together and shall be able to raise the money needed and then other facilities can be realised so that we will be able to have a successful celebration on June 3rd,” he added.

Fort Portal Diocese last animated the celebration in 1997. Since then, several changes have taken place. It used to be a small event of 300 people, but now it is an event of millions of people.
This year’s celebration will be held under the theme, “Baptised and sent to witness Christ with love and hope’’.
Millions of pilgrims from within and outside Uganda are expected to visit Namugongo, the site where the majority of the converts were martyred, in celebration of their bravery, making the fete a key event on the Church Calendar.
 

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