Christian pilgrims from across Uganda have started to arrive at Namugongo Catholic Shrine ahead of the commemoration of the Uganda Martyrs on 3rd June 2023.
By Fr Isaac Ojok – Uganda.
The Pilgrims who are coming from different Catholic dioceses within the country have started to arrive at the shrine with their different prayer intentions to be presented to God through the intercession of the Uganda Martyrs.
Journeys of faith
The pilgrims are using different means of transport to enable them have access to the shrine in a mood of prayer.
Meanwhile thousands of Christian pilgrims from Lira Diocese in Northern Uganda are also wlaking and advancing on their holy pilgrimage to join in prayers through the intercession of the holy Martyrs of Uganda.
The pilgrims started trekking from the city of Lira a week ago and are expected to reach Namugongo Catholic shrine in Wakiso district, Kampala Archdiocese, on 1st June, a journey of approximately 380 Kms.
In a journey of faith, the pilgrims are being accompanied by some consecrated men and women who are serving within the jurisdiction of Lira Diocese.
Before starting off on their journey, the pilgrims are taken through days of spiritual retreat to prepare them and to make them understand the significance of the journey to Namugongo and other designated important places.
Praying for healing and peace in families
Some pilgrims say that they want to use their pilgrimage, to pray for peace, unity, tolerance and love in their families.
Others disclosed that they are using the moments of pilgrimage to Namugongo to pray for the gift of healing, renewal and deliverance from God who is the provider of all things to His children.
The pilgrims are also praying that respect for human rights and dignity may be restored, and that God may intervene over the high cost of living, the cases of killing and theft being perpetuated in the country so that the population can concentrate on development.
Generosity of strangers along the way
As the pilgrims make their meditative and prayerful pilgrimage, the foot pilgrims are being hospitably received and given assistance by fellow Christians and people of good will.
Furthermore, the pilgrimage is marked by celebrations of the Eucharist, Sacrament of Penance, prayer of Divine Mercy, the engagements taken as source of Spiritual nourishment in their holy pilgrimage.
The foot pilgrimage being made by Christians of Lira Diocese is being observed as a sign of maturity of faith among the people in God which is a culture well nurtured in the diocese, not only to Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, but to other places as well such as Paimol in Gulu Archdiocese where blessed Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa were killed on account of their faith.
Diocese of Jinja will animate 2023 Liturgy
The Diocese of Jinja is set to animate this year’s liturgy on 3 June Martyrs Day. Every year, Ugandan dioceses take turns to animate the liturgy at Namugongo Shrine. The Diocese of Jinja in Eastern Uganda has been chosen to animate the celebrations which are guided by the theme “Lord increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).
The celebrations for this year are expected to draw pilgrims from within the country including the foreign pilgrims from the neighbouring countries of Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC and Rwanda among others.