Catholics gather to honor Martyrs of Uganda

Catholics gather to honor Martyrs of Uganda

Photos by James A. McBride

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Earline Woodson reads the petitions during Mass honoring the Martyrs of Uganda at St. Margaret Church, Woodbury Heights, on Sunday, June 12. Below left, children carry images of the martyrs. Below right, Martha Mulenga and two Little Servant Sisters perform a dance.

ugandanmartyrs2-webMsgr. Leonard Scott was the main celebrant and Father Vincent Orum was the homilist of a Mass to celebrate the Martyrs of Uganda on Sunday, June 12, at St. Margaret Church, Woodbury Heights.

The Ugandan Martyrs are the men and boys whose martyrdom in 1886 is considered the spark that ignited the flame of Christianity in modern Africa. The Catholic martyrs were canonized in 1964 by Pope Paul VI. Their feast is June 3.ugandanmartyrs3-web

St. Charles and other martyrs, ranging in age from 14 to 30, were young officials and pages in the court of King Mwanga, who had a predilection for sex with young men. The king killed them when “they refused, because of their faith in Christ, to yield to the king’s filthy desires,” according to brief Vatican biography.

“The Black Catholic Ministry Commission was pleased to sponsor this Mass in honor of the 24 men and boys of Uganda who sacrificed their lives for their faith,” said Corlis Sellers, associate director of Lifelong Faith Formation for Black Catholics.

“This is the first-ever celebration for this Diocese. It has been said that this martyrdom has ignited the flame of Christianity in modern Africa. We hope to enlighten the faithful about the contributions that have been made to our church by individuals of African descent in the present and throughout history,” she said.

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