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    Over 700 Pilgrims Embark on Trek to Namugongo for Martyrs' Day Celebrations

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    Over 700 Pilgrims Embark on Trek to Namugongo for Martyrs' Day Celebrations
    • May 15, 2024 • 9 days ago
    in summary
    Over 700 foot pilgrims set off from Namurwotho Chapel in Nebbi district to Namugongo, the holy land of the Uganda Martyrs. Flagged off by Archbishop-elect Raphael Okorach of Gulu Archdiocese, the pilgrims embark on an annual journey to commemorate Martyrs' Day on June 3rd.

    In a remarkable display of faith and dedication, more than seven hundred (700) foot pilgrims commenced their journey to Namugongo, the holy land of the Uganda Martyrs this morning from Namurwotho Chapel in Nebbi district. The pilgrims, bound for the annual Martyrs' Day celebrations, were flagged off by the Archbishop-elect of Gulu Archdiocese, Raphael Okorach.

    Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ocokuru, spokesperson for the organizing committee of the Nebbi Diocese, spoke to the media about the event's logistics and the pilgrims' itinerary.

    “We have a number of about 700 pilgrims who will be footing, and those who will take off from Nebbi will be around 400. Some will be waiting from Pakwach,” he explained.

    The pilgrimage, which spans approximately 272 kilometers, is a significant spiritual journey for many Ugandan Catholics. To ensure the safety of the pilgrims, the first leg of their journey will see them stopping in Packwach Town.

    The following day, they will be transported to Karuma to avoid the dangers posed by wild animals in Murchison Falls National Park. This precaution underscores the dedication of the organizers to the well-being of the participants, balancing their spiritual quest with practical safety measures.

    Support for the pilgrims has come from various quarters, including corporate sponsorship and individual contributions. MTN, a leading telecommunications company, has provided reflector jackets to enhance the visibility and safety of the pilgrims on their journey.

    "There are some individuals who have also shown interest in supporting the pilgrims," Fr.  Ocokuru noted, highlighting the communal effort behind the pilgrimage.

    The annual trek culminates at the Namugongo shrine in Wakiso District, where pilgrims gather to commemorate Martyrs' Day on June 3rd. This year’s celebrations at the Namugongo Catholic shrine will be led by the Nebbi Diocese, marking a significant moment for the diocese and its faithful. The event honors the memory of the Ugandan martyrs who were executed for their faith in the late 19th century, a pivotal moment in the country's religious history.

    As the pilgrims embark on this arduous journey, their determination and faith stand as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Ugandan martyrs. The pilgrimage not only honors the past but also strengthens the spiritual bonds within the Catholic community in Uganda. With the support of organizations like MTN and the collective efforts of individuals, the journey to Namugongo remains a powerful symbol of faith and resilience.

    Martyrs' Day in Uganda is a significant public holiday observed annually on June 3rd. It commemorates the martyrdom of 45 young men, both Catholic and Anglican, who were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II, the king of Buganda, between 1885 and 1887. These men were executed for their refusal to renounce their Christian faith.

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