By Mary Karugaba
Ugandans living in America have set up a replica of Uganda Martyrs Shrine in America at St.Genevieve parish in Panorama City of Los Angeles in California.
The Shrine, according to a statement by the Office of the Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, was constructed by the Uganda Catholic Community living in the California State and will attract pilgrims from all over North America to celebrate the Uganda Martyrs day every year.
Speaking at the inauguration, Tayebwa commended the Uganda Catholic Community in the US for their commitment to Christ by deciding to establish a shrine where many believers will converge to pray to the Uganda Martyrs to intercede for them for their problems to be solved.
“The national motto of Uganda which says For God and My Country shows the faith of the people who died for religion in our country. This is going to improve the tourism of our country but also it is a good way for you people to organise yourselves because we have a rallying point of the Uganda Martyrs” he stressed.
“Today I have seen that you have managed to put a mark of our country in one of the great churches in America. It is very important. It is like putting a star on the streets of Los Angeles on the walk of fame. Our martyrs are now intact in the land of opportunities” Tayebwa added.
He asked the Ugandan Community in the US to preach to the Americans the significance of the Uganda Martyrs to the religion by informing them of how Namugongo has both Catholic, Anglican and Muslim shrines.
“We have to translate this into something different now. We need pilgrims to come from America to Namugongo directly. I don’t know whether they will walk and you need to inform them we have the Anglican shrine, catholic shrine and the Muslim. So, everyone is catered for. Now we need pilgrims to come from here and go to Uganda and we shall recognize them. You saw the Nigerians” he added.
While preaching, Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu Diocese said that it is a “blessing” to the faithful in America to have the Uganda Martyrs Shrine established near them, hence a need to strengthen their faith by following the teachings of Jesus.
He said that like Uganda Martyrs who died in unity in Christ despite coming from different corners of Uganda, so should be the Christians in the communities they live in and wherever they work from.
“They were not afraid to challenge those who were going the wrong way and were leading human kind in the wrong direction. They said ‘sorry even if you are a King, as long as you don’t know, you are not in a right position’. They challenged the king and the king got angry because he was challenged by his subjects. He decided to prosecute them and kill them. Did they get afraid? No” Odama said.