In preparation for Uganda Martyrs Day

As we commemorate Martyrs Day this year, my humble prayer is that this should be a time for reflection and renewed commitment to causes we are committed to. The virtues for which the martyrs stood is an inspiration to all humanity. In many ways, the seed of faith sown by shedding blood has in the history of Uganda sprouted unprecedented development. Most families whose parents are religious converts have over time nurtured great leaders of our times. The commitment and discipline that came with religious conversion although once viewed as rebellious, because converts did not adhere to the cultural norms, gave birth to the education of both the boy and girl child. It gave birth to a brotherhood grounded in shared belief and thus provided and still provides a safety net for the faithful.

Rather than deter the growth of Christianity, the martyrdom of these early believers seems to have sparked its growth instead. As has been observed in many other instances, the blood of the martyrs proved to be the seed of faith. Christianity (in its various flavors) is now the dominant faith in Buganda and Uganda as a whole. The 22 known Catholic martyrs were declared “Blessed” by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. This is one of the key steps in the catholic tradition that eventually leads to canonization. The 22 Catholic martyrs were indeed canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964; during the Vatican II conference. Thus these martyrs were now recognized by the universal church as being worthy of being honored as Saints. This was a first for modern Africa and a source of pride throughout the continent.

Here is the touching story of the Namugongo Holocaust.


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