Uganda Martyrs 2016 celebrations kick off in style on May – 22 – 2016

It was an inspiring three hours walk emulating the martyrs’ journey of pain and faith. The celebration of the famous and highly respected martyr’s day of 3rd June of every year, has started off in different parts of the country and the entire east African region. In Kampala, Uganda’s capital, this has kicked off in high gear when his lordship, bishops Cyprian Lwanga (Host bishop) and Anthony Zziwa (chief guest), representing Kampala and Kiyinda Mityana diocese respectively were joined by the public of mixed religions and the minister of tourism and antiquities Dr. Maria Mutagamba accompanied by the minister for ethics and integrity Fr. Lokodo to take a three hours walk covering 15km on the Martyrs trail. This was named “a journey of faith” to inspire the pilgrims, the public and to join the rest of the regional and international community as they participate in a longer pilgrim journey to Namugongo for the annual Martyrs day to be celebrated on Friday 3rd June 2016. This walk was organized by the Catholic Church with support of Uganda tourism board and other well-wishers institution from government and the private sector. The diocese of Kiyinda Mitayan is in charged of organizing the entire martyrs’ day celebration of 2016.

This 3 hours journey was a joyful moment in which a crowd of over five hundred people walked from Munyonyo to Old Kampala. Headed by a brass band and a team of joyful singers, one could see groups of people standing on the roadsides either waving to the crowd, making the catholic simple of the cross or loudly asking God to forgive their sins. Several drunkard and excited people were witnesses either seeking to see the father or asking for holly gifts from the people of God. The views of Kampala’s hilly terrain was tremendous as we took the walk up and down the gentle hills.

Four different Martyrs shrines were visited. At each sherine, an interpretation of the respective martyr was given and all the pilgrims showered with blessings during the prayers headed by the bishop at the spots. The martyr’s shrines that were visited included those of Saints; Donozio Ssebugwawo, Possiano ondwe, Joseph Mukasa Balikudembe, Atanasi Bazekuketa, Matia mulumba at old Kampala and the last but not list martyr, St. Yowana maria Muzeyi, whose sherine we never visited in Mengo Kisenyi, due to some agreed technical trail and access plans. At St Matiya mulumba, old Kampala the pilgrims were treated to lunch organized by the parish.

After a relaxing moment, the bishop celebrated mass with the pilgrims at 3:00pm at St Matia Mulumba parish. The mass was attended by most pilgrims from Kiyinda Mityan and those of Kampala alike. With wonderful singing by the seminarians choir from Kiyinda Mityana the happy blessed people enjoyed the bishops preaching that was about the martyrs, faith, and the Trinita Sunday according to the catholic faith. Besides the above, the bishop and other pilgrims mentioned that more pilgrims have started their way to Namugongo to celebrate the 3rd June matyers day. Pilgrims are expected to come from the surrounding countries including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, southern Sudan, DR Congo and other international communities.

From the speech of the tourism minister, at St. Matia Mulumba parish church, the ministry is committed to support tourism including specifically the faith based tourism in Uganda. the minister further mentioned that she took the walk as her personal wish as a believer, but she was happy to represent the ministry, thanking the lord Bishop for showing her the work she needs to do, after being embarrassed by the state of some of the shrines that were poorly managed in terrifying status that need attention of maintenance and infrastructural development.

The mass ended at 5:45pm and that was the end of the journey of faith.