Catholic Church Needs Shs 900M for 2019 Martyrs Day Celebrations

Pilgrims gather at the Namugongo catholic martyrs' shrine during previous celebrations (Internet Photo)

The Catholic Church has Monday unveiled a sensitisation and fundraising programme seeking to collect Shs 900 million for this year’s Uganda Martyrs’ day celebrations.

The celebrations are held every June 3 as a solemnity and millions of pilgrims from all over the world come to Uganda to pay homage to both the Catholic and Anglican martyrs who were killed for their faith on orders of Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda kingdom between 1885 and 1887.

The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, Most Rev John Baptist Odama was in June 2018 chosen by the Episcopal Conference to organise and animate this year’s event.

While addressing the press at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat in Kampala on Monday, Rev Odama said that they have already constituted a Central Organising Committee and ten sub-committees, before unveiling different strategies aimed at raising the required money.

“The total budget for Uganda Martyrs celebration this year is Shs 900m and will cater for all the preparation activities and the actual celebration,” Odama said.

The planned activities and fundraising activities include establishing a special website and a WhatsApp group to aid mobilisation and publicity, visiting parishes and institutions in the Archdiocese of Gulu while mobilising and sensitising the community and organising a pre-Namugongo Fundraising Walk next month.

Organisers will also hold fundraising dinners, mobilise parishes, institutions and catholic families in and outside the Archdiocese of Gulu to contribute towards the function.

Also, Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates will be awarded to individuals who make substantial contributions towards the celebrations as well as publishing a souvenir magazine with paid adverts for institutions and corporate companies.

According to the organisers, the Church has already collected Shs 10 million with other Shs 24 million in pledges towards the celebrations.

They have opened up an account with Centenary Bank 3100059093 in the name of Archdiocese of Gulu Namugongo Martyrs.

Asked whether the Pope will preside over the event, Odama clarified that he was invited and that the media reports of pope visit again to Uganda are not related to the Martys day celebrations.

“The Pope was invited by African bishops under the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) to mark their SECAM’s golden jubilee celebrations,” Odama said.

The Bishops preferred Uganda because SECAM was midwifed in 1969 by African bishops during a meeting in Kampala.

He however said, he is not privy to Pope’s response towards their invite.

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