A service to commemorate the Martyrs is currently underway at the Anglican Shrine at Nakiyanja, Namugongo. It is being led by the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Most Rev. Stephen Kaziimba.
Less than 200 people are in attendance and John Mitala, the Head of Public Service is the Chief Guest representing President Yoweri Museveni.
Uganda Martyrs Day is commemorated every 3rd June and in previous years, millions of people from within and outside Uganda thronged both the Anglican and Catholic Shrines to commemorate the 45 martyrs, a brave group of young men who died while defending their faith. These converted to Christianity between 1885 and 1887 to the annoyance of the then Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda, who ordered that they are burnt to death.
At the Catholic Shrine, Christians start accessing the Centre on May, 25 when a Novena, which is often prayed nine days earlier in preparation for a feast or a specific intention, is recited. The earlier arrivals of both national and international faithful’s have also previously been observed at the Anglican Shrine.
However, for the second time this year, the event is celebrated virtually with a limited number of guests as the country maintains restrictions on public gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s Martyrs Day celebration at the Anglican Shrine held from 9 to 11 a.m. is under the theme “Life in its Fullness”.
Three choirs are presenting at this year’s Martyrs Day Celebrations. They include AYF, Seeta Archdeaconry Choir, and the Namugongo Parish Church choir.
The Rt. Rev. Wilberforce Luwalira, Bishop of Namirembe Diocese, is the day’s preacher.
In his Martyrs Day message, Archbishop Kaziimba said that Ugandans can be part of ensuring that the truth the martyrs died for continues to be proclaimed for many generations to come by visiting the memorial site throughout the year.
“On 3rd June 1886, 25 youth serving in the Kabaka’s palace were forced to make a choice no one should have to make, let alone a child. They were forced either to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ or be killed. That is why we always celebrate this day every year,” says Kaziimba.