The Immense Devotion of Africans for Their Martyrs

Source: FSSPX News

Pilgrims came by millions to honor the martyrs of Uganda on June 3, 2018, at the sanctuary of Namugongo, for the annual commemoration of Martyrs’ Day presided over by all the bishops of the country.

It is difficult to give a precise count of this year’s pilgrims: 2 million according to Vatican News, based on the numbers given by the organizers and the local media; many more according to Catholic News Agency that gives an estimate of 4 million faithful who came to honor the martyrs. From Tanzania, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, but also from Japan and the United States, many traveled several thousand miles to be present.

Twenty two of the forty-five young men executed at King Mwanga II’s orders in 1885 and 1886 were Catholic. They were beatified on June 6, 1920, by Pope Benedict XV. On October 18, 1964, Pope Paul VI canonized them, adding them to the catalogue of the saints.

The archbishop of Tororo, Archbishop Emmanuel Obbo, declared to the immense crowd that “the Martyrs themselves are role models for our Christian families in Africa, Uganda and especially in Tororo, this year.”

“Live lives that would make the Ugandan Martyrs proud,” exhorted the prelate, denouncing “the search for quick money by hook and crook – including kidnapping, human trafficking and what about Witchcraft and devil worship…”

For the conclusion of the celebrations, Archbishop Obbo spoke to the young people, offering them as an example St. Kizito, the youngest of the Ugandans to die for the true Faith: he “demonstrated his readiness to die for Christ on that Ascension Day of Thursday, 3 June 1886. Before disappearing into the flames to be burnt alive with other Christians, he recited the ‘Our Father,’ together with others,” recalled the archbishop.