Hundreds of Pilgrims from Kabale diocese this week started walking a 400-mile journey to Namugongo to attend this year’s Uganda Martyrs day celebrations commemorated every June 3.
Walking in groups of between 30 to 150 people, the pilgrims will spend at least ten days on the road, resting during the night at Catholic establishments or at police stations until they reach Namugongo.
In an extraordinary show of commitment to their faith as well as sense of solidarity for the Uganda Martyrs, the pilgrims will walk unbelievably long journeys by foot to Namugongo from different parts of the country and beyond in countries such as Rwanda, DR Congo and Tanzania.
Last year, in a modern show of brevity Pilgrims from Kenya walked a remarkable 700 miles to attend the Martyrs day celebrations.
Pilgrims use the pain endured through walking as an annual sacrifice for their faith but also as a way of identifying with the Martyrs who endured fire and hacking by Mwanga’s brutal killers.
45 Uganda Martyrs, 22 of whom were Catholic, were killed by the late Buganda king Mwanga between November 1885 and June 1886 for disobeying his orders. The Martyrs were spreading Christianity, whose principles collided with the views of the King.
On a sad note however, pilgrims from Kabale will for the first time in many years celebrate Martyrs day without Bishop Barnabas Halem ’Imana who died in January this year. The late Bishop Halem is remembered for having worked very hard to spread Catholicism in Kigezi region.