United African Organization

125th Anniversary of Ugandan Matyrs Day

June 7, 2013NancyBlog

June 3rd marked the 125th anniversary of Martyrs Day in commemoration of the 22 Uganda Catholic Martyrs who were murdered in 1886. In Uganda, the day was a culmination of several days of trekking, sacrifice, prayer and meditation by pilgrims to the Catholic shrine that was built at the spot where St. Charles Kalooli Lwanga was burnt. In Chicago, the Ugandan community is marking this day with a special event on June 8th at St Hubert Catholic Church, 729 Grand Canyon Street, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169.

The Uganda Martyrs were Christian converts who were murdered for their faith in the historical kingdom of Buganda, now part of Uganda. The main reasons for their murder were refusal to offer sacrifices to the traditional gods and objection to and resistance to King Mwanga’s homosexual practices. Their killings seem to have been tied to specific resistance to Mwanga’s attempts to engage in homosexual practices with those killed immediately before the killings.

Saint Charles (Carl) Lwanga and his companions, Martyrs of Uganda, were a group of Christians (both Roman Catholics and Anglicans) who were murdered by Mwanga II, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda, between 1885 and 1887. These deaths were part of a three-way religious struggle for political control of the Buganda royal court. In 1877, the Church Missionary Society in London had sent Protestant missionaries to the court, followed two years later by the French Catholic White Fathers. These two competed with each other and the Zanzibar-based Muslim traders for converts and influence. By the mid-1880s, many members of the Buganda court had converted and become proxies for the religious and nationalist conflict being played out in the court. Kabaka Mwanga II, upon his ascent to the throne, attempted to destroy the foreign influences he felt threatened the Buganda state, but was instead deposed by armed converts in 1888.

Anglican James Hannington, the Protomartyr, had been dispatched to be the bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, but he was executed with his companions before they could enter Buganda.

Twenty-two of the martyrs were Roman Catholics and were canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964. Although the Anglicans were not canonized in the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope did mention them.Their feast day is June 3. They were:

  • Achileo Kiwanuka
  • Adolphus Ludigo-Mukasa
  • Ambrosius Kibuuka
  • Anatoli Kiriggwajjo
  • Andrew Kaggwa
  • Antanansio Bazzekuketta
  • Bruno Sserunkuuma
  • Charles Lwanga
  • Denis Ssebuggwawo Wasswa
  • Gonzaga Gonza
  • Gyavira Musoke
  • James Buuzaabalyaawo
  • John Maria Muzeeyi
  • Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe
  • Kizito
  • Lukka Baanabakintu
  • Matiya Mulumba
  • Mbaga Tuzinde
  • Mugagga Lubowa
  • Mukasa Kiriwawanvu
  • Nowa Mawaggali
  • Ponsiano Ngondwe

The Ugandan Martyrs were featured in the film Millions. (www.wikipedia.org)

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February 17, 2013NancyMembership




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