Saturday, June 4, 2011

St Charles Lwanga and Companions, Holy Martyrs of Uganda, pray for us

I know that the blog has been quiet of late, life has simply got in the way. Today the Church recalls the martyrdom of St Charles Lwanga and his companions. St Charles has his companions have brought a steady number of new many visitors to my blog over the last year. I do not have time to do a new entry so I will re post last years entry. Read their story, it is impressive. (Well it impressed me, which is easier said than done!) I pray that St Charles and his companions may intercede for Christians throughout the world who are enduring persecution.

We have put many people to death,' they said, 'but never such as these. On other occasions the victims did nothing but moan and weep, but the Christians were wonderful. There was not a sigh, not even an angry word. All that was heard was the soft murmur on their lips. They prayed until they died.'


Today is the feast of Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions. They were martyred between 1885 and 1887. Uganda Martyrs' Day Celebrations are held every 3rd June at the Uganda Martyrs' Shrine, Namugongo, Kampala-Uganda. In Uganda, this day is a public holiday, and millions of people will travel to the shrine.

St Charles Lwanga was a Ugandan catechist who was martyred for his faith. Charles worked as a page in the court of king Mwanga. After a massacre of Anglicans in 1885 the court's Catholic priest, Joseph Mukasa, reproached the king. The king had Mukasa beheaded and arrested all of his followers. Charles Lwanga and 11 other Catholics were burnt alive on June 3 for refusing to renounce their faith. "One of the reported reasons the ire of the king was particularly inflamed against the Christians was because they refused to accede to demands to participate in homosexual acts with him. Charles Lwanga, in particular, protected the pages from King Mwanga's sexual advances." (Wikipedia)

Charles was the first to be executed, on Ascension Thursday. He was burnt slowly over a pyre. Taunted by the executioner, Charles replied: "You are burning me, but it is as if you are pouring water over my body." He then remained quietly praying. Just before the end, he cried out in a loud voice "Katonda,"--"My God." The rest of the group were executed together in a large pyre. "The pyre was lit towards noon. The executioners themselves admitted later that they had never seen the like. 'We have put many people to death,' they said, 'but never such as these. On other occasions the victims did nothing but moan and weep, but the Christians were wonderful. There was not a sigh, not even an angry word. All that was heard was the soft murmur on their lips. They prayed until they died.' "(source)




Read the Homily of Pope John Paul II from the Ugandan martyrs shrine in 1993


 
Prayer
O Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer,
through your passion and death,
we adore and thank Thee.
Holy Mary, Mother and Queen of Martyrs,
Obtain for us sanctification through our sufferings.
Holy Martyrs, followers of the suffering Christ,
obtain for us the grace to imitate Him.
Amen

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