One million people from Uganda and beyond gathered on Friday 3 June to celebrate Martyrs Day at the Namugongo Shrine in Uganda.
Given the immense importance that the celebration of the Solemnity of the Uganda Martyrs holds for the people of Uganda and beyond, the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments, in the Vatican, gave the Ugandan Church approval to transfer the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from Friday 3 June 2016 to Friday 10 June 2016.
Uganda’s New Vision daily newspaper reports that the main celebrant, Bishop Joseph Anthony Ziwa of Kiyinda Mityana Diocese called upon the Faithful to emulate the Uganda Martyrs by sticking to the truth. He said only the truth would save society from evils witnessed today. He made the appeal during the homily to pilgrims at the Namugongo shrine.
"We know that the absence of the truth leads man to commit social evils in society, but we cannot be witnesses of Christ in the world when our speech is packed with lies," Bishop Zziwa told pilgrims. He also warned Christians against living a ‘double life.’
“Some people are Christians during the day and at night behave like pagans. Let us be truthful, and the truth shall make us free, Let us be renewed by this pilgrimage to Namugongo and resolve to witness to the truth," added Bishop Ziwa.
Quoting Pope Francis, Bishop Zziwa said that the strength of the Christian community of Uganda depends on the Martyrs who testified that the truth shall set humankind free.
In light of that message and in the spirit of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the theme of this year's Uganda Martyrs Day celebration was, "Truth shall set you Free." Bishop Zziwa explained that Jesus used this message while preaching to the disciples who were facing opposition from the Pharisees and the scribes.
According to Bishop Zziwa, Christians should be identified by their witness to the truth just as the Martyrs did many years ago, reports the New Vision of Uganda.
Uganda’s Martyrs Day, which falls on 3 June, every year commemorates the heroic faith of the 45 Martyrs, both Catholic and Anglican, who were burnt to death on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II, the then King of Buganda between 1885 and 1887. Twenty-two Catholic Martyrs were beatified on 6 June 1920, by Pope Benedict XV, and on 18 October 1964, Pope Paul VI canonised them as Saints.