As the country prepares to receive millions of pilgrims for the 2019 Uganda Martyrs Day 3rd June celebrations, dozens of people from Gulu archdiocese have set off on the 332-Kilometer-long journey of faith to Namugongo Martyrs Shrine.
The Archdiocese of Gulu is leading this year’s celebrations at Namugongo, and the foot pilgrims drawn from various parishes celebrated mass in which they received final blessings in front of St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Gulu Town.
The Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama flagged off the pilgrims who are being accompanied by health workers and an ambulance registration number UAQ 838 E from St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor.
The pilgrims are also led with a giant wooden cross and a flag, bearing portraits of Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, St. Joseph’s Cathedral and the Sacred Heart University mounted onto a double cabin pick up registration number UAR 206 G branded with Logos of CARITAS, they also have a lead pickup vehicle registration number UAN 962T with a public address system to keep them entertained with Christian hymns.
Last year, at least 3.5 Million Christians took the pilgrimage to Namugongo Martyrs Shrine from around the world and the numbers are expected to rise as has been the case each year. The Catholic Church through Gulu Archdiocese is working closely with the Uganda Tourism Board to organize this year’s event.
Pilgrims are expected from all corners of the world, while thousands are expected to walk frfom different parts of Uganda and East African region.
During mass last evening, Monsignor Mathew Odong, the Vicar General of Gulu Archdiocese likened the journey of faith to the traditional hunting expedition, saying the pilgrims have catering services accompanying them.
This year’s main celebrant Dr John Baptist Odama, the archbishop of Gulu blessed the pilgrims and flagged them off, saying the choices they made to take the tedious journey to Namugongo is a demonstration that their faith in God is alive.