A Warm Welcome: Nebbi Pilgrims Showered with Love in Luweero Town

As pilgrims from Nebbi Catholic Diocese arrived in Luweero town, they were greeted with open arms and abundant generosity as locals offered them fruits and food supplies. Festo, the assistant team leader, confirmed that all 520 pilgrims who embarked on their journey from Nebbi on May 15 are in excellent health, with the number swelling to 540 as additional pilgrims joined along the way.

The pilgrims, who spent a restful night at the Kasana-Luweero Catholic Diocese, are on a spiritual odyssey covering over 420km from West Nile to the Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo for the upcoming Martyrs Day celebrations. With the theme “As for me and my family, we shall serve the Lord,” Nebbi Catholic Diocese is taking the lead in animating this year’s Martyrs Day festivities, with a budget of Shs1.9 billion.

Martyrs Day, observed annually on June 3, commemorates the Uganda Martyrs, a group of 45 Catholic and Anglican converts who were martyred between 1885 and 1887 under the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II, the King of Buganda. Their steadfast faith and sacrifice have made the Uganda Martyrs Day celebration one of the largest Christian events globally, drawing pilgrims from far and wide.

The pilgrimage to Namugongo, steeped in rich tradition, is a testament to the enduring legacy of the martyrs and saints. Over the years, pilgrims have sought intercession and paid homage at the execution sites, culminating in the construction of Catholic and Anglican shrines in Namugongo. The annual event features a series of rituals and devotions, including the Novena, leading up to the solemn commemoration.

The Catholic Church beatified the 22 Catholic martyrs in 1920 and canonized them as saints in 1964, symbolizing their revered status in the universal Church. The significance of Martyrs Day was further underscored by Pope Francis’ historic visit to Namugongo in 2015, where he paid homage to both Catholic and Anglican martyrs, emphasizing the ecumenical spirit of the occasion.

As preparations for the 2024 Martyrs Day are underway, organized by the Nebbi Catholic Diocese, the pilgrimage to Namugongo continues to serve as a powerful symbol of faith, unity, and devotion for millions of pilgrims worldwide

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