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Faithful's Converge at Namugongo for Martyrs Day Pilgrimage

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This years catholic liturgy celebrations are organized by Kiyinda Mityana diocese while Namirembe Diocese with a consortium of 300 churches is leading the mass at Nakiyanja-the Anglican Church shrine.
03 Jun 2016 08:24
Thousands walking to Nmaugogo this morning
Thousands of pilgrims are converging in Namugongo for the annual martyrs' day pilgrimage.

The day is commemorated on June 3 every year in honor of the martyrdom of 45 young men who converted to Christianity between 1885 and 1887.  The conversions annoyed the then King of Buganda, Mwanga II who ordered that they are burnt to death.

Many of the pilgrims walked hundreds of miles from within and outside Uganda up to Namugongo as a sign of honor to the Martyrs.

Security is tight at all roads and entrances leading to the Catholic and Anglican Church Shrines in Namugongo.  At Kyaliwajjala trading center, a joint force of police and UPDF is deployed to guide pilgrims to the shrines. Access routes are clearly demarcated and supported by several scouts guiding the crowds to the respective places of worship.

Long queues are seen at the Catholic shrine, with people subjected to security checks by police and plain clothed personnel.

As early as 4 am, people were seen walking from different areas to get to the Catholic and Protestant shrines at Namugongo in Kira division.

At Kireka, people had to walk after police blocked the road heading to Namugongo, with accredited personnel only allowed to drive through. Public Service vehicles have been denied access to the roads, giving motorcyclists an opportunity to make money. They are now charging 5000 Shillings for a journey that ordinarily costs 2000 Shillings.

Announcements by the organizers indicates that at least 4000 pilgrims have come from Kenya, 4961 from Tanzania, 800 from Democratic Republic of Congo, 300 from Rwanda, 712 from Burundi, 117 from Nigeria, 105 from South Sudan, 100 from Malawi, seven from the United States and four from Mexico. 

Others have come from Italy,  Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Ireland and Canada.

This year's catholic liturgy celebrations are organized by Kiyinda Mityana diocese. The main Mass is expected to start at 10 am presided over by Bishop Joseph Antony Zziwa of Kiyinda-Mityana diocese.

Inside the Catholic shrine, people are already seated while others are seen standing by the walkways.

Namirembe Diocese with a consortium of 300 churches is leading the mass at Nakiyanja-the Anglican Church shrine. The day's theme; Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake- for theirs is the Kingdom of God is based on the biblical teachings in Mathew 5:10.

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