By Francis Jjunju
With less than 50 days to mark the 2017 Uganda Martyrs Day celebration, the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC) together with Hoima Catholic Diocese have officially launched the publicity campaign for the celebrations slated for June 3rd, at the Catholic Shrine Namugongo.
Hoima diocese was chosen last year to animate the celebration as one of the diocese in Mbarara ecclesiastical province.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat Nsambya, the Bishop of Hoima diocese Rt. Rev. Vincent Kirabo said local and foreign pilgrims are supposed to pay homage to the Uganda Martyrs for both Catholics and Anglican who were ordered to death by King Mwanga II between 1885 and 1887.
Bishop Kirabo noted that the theme, “Stand firm in the faith that we have been taught, Colossians 2:7”, inspires and reminds believers’ of the daily challenges in life but one should never compromise his faith.
About 15 committees like Liturgy, Protocol, Publicity, Transport, Finance, Medical and Pilgrims among others have been instituted to coordinate the preparations for this year’s Martyrs celebrations estimated to cost close to UGX 600 million.
The Chairman 2017 Uganda Martyrs Celebration Publicity Committee Organizing Fr. Jude Ssemambo said at least half of the required sum of money has been so far collected but highlighted that some pledges from the dinner that was held on March 16th have not been honoured urging them to adhere to their call.
Fr. Ssemambo said they are preparing a cultural gala on May 20th at Ndere Cultural Center in Kiwatule to showcase Bunyoro Kitara cultures as part of the avenues to raise funds but there is also a martyrs’ walk that will be held on May 27th that will start from Munyonyo, where saints. Andrew Kaggwa and Denis Ssebugwawo were killed, the Martyrs’ Trail proceeds to Kyamula where St. Ponsiano Ngondwe was killed then to St. Balikudembe Market where St. Joseph Mukasa Balikudembe and Atananse Bazekuketta were killed then to Jugula at Mengo where St. John Mary Muzeyi was killed and St. Matia Mulumba at Old Kampala Parish.
He says the church expects over three million pilgrims this time round coming from not only Africa but Europe, America and Asia.
This year’s martyrs’ day celebrations will be the 132nd since martyrs were killed, foot pilgrims from Hoima will set off on May 26th from three directions; Hoima, Kiboga Kampala, Kibale Mubende Kampala and Masindi Luweero Kampala. The nine day novena will start on May 26th