Thousands of pilgrims are gathering at Namugongo shrine, near Uganda‘s capital, Kampala, to commemorate Uganda Martyrs Day.
The Catholic shrine honors Christians who were martyred for their faith in the nineteenth century. Some pilgrims stayed up all night holding vigils near the martyrs’ shrines.
President Yoweri Museveni wished the pilgrims safe travels and tweeted a photo of the venue.
Museveni said; “I also want to congratulate all the Balamazi(Pilgrims) who have trekked long and short distances for the #MartyrsDay2022. I want to welcome the visitors to Uganda, among the pilgrims, who have come to enjoy the blessings of this day with us. I wish you a memorable stay in Uganda.”
The annual event is popular among Catholics in the country and throughout East Africa. This year’s event is the first since the country’s first Coronavirus case was confirmed in July 2020.
According to local media, security has been increased on roads leading to the Namugongo shrine.
Some of the banners erected within the shrine indicated that pilgrims came from the districts of Bushenyi, Isingiro, Kanungu, and Mbarara.
There were a number of food and drink stalls available for pilgrims to purchase, as well as other types of stands selling items bearing Uganda Martyrs literature.
It was difficult to determine the number of pilgrims who had traveled so far to the Catholic Shrine because some had avoided registering at the visitors’ office at the entrance.
Traffic had backed up outside the Catholic shrine, owing in part to cars entering the shrine.
Along the road, several businessmen and women targeting pilgrims sold various merchandise [such as rosaries and Uganda Martyrs portraits].
Meanwhile, at the Anglican Shrine yesterday, the team on the ground was much more organized in directing the pilgrims who arrived.
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