Sts Charles Lwanga, Jaseph Mkasa and Companions (-C.1886 - I887)
Saint of The day On June 3
The White Fathers started missionary work among the native tribes of the Upper Nile region in 1-878, and the ﬁrst baptisms took place on Easter Saturday the following year. Some of these men had been converted from Islam to Protestantism before becoming Catholics. With their stiff resistance to the immoral demands of the vicious King Mwanga began the persecution of the rapidly spreading Catholic faith in 1886. Joseph Mkasa, the chief of the royal pages, and Marumba, the headman of a district, were among the ﬁrst to suffer martyrdom, closely followed by Mkasa’s successor Charles Lwanga. It was Charles who enabled the rest to retain their individual purity and to cling unto their faith. The Church today venerates the 22 Negro boys and young men ranging in age from 13 to 30 years, for the courage, reminiscent of the early Christians, with which they endured the most cruel tortures. Thirteen of the Martyrs were burned, the rest met death through various other ordeals. Some of them were put to death on 3 June 1886. These were the ﬁrst African Negroes to be beatiﬁed (1920). Besides these, some 80 others were killed in this persecution. As St Augustine says: “The martyrs were bound, imprisoned, scourged, racked, bumt, rent, butchered and they multiplied.” The Ugandan martyrs were canonized by Pope Paul VI on 18 October 1964.
Reflection: “First, have great love for Jesus Christ. Second, be faithful to the Church. Third, be strong and courageous; be happy and joyful always. Because, remember this always, the Christian life is a most beautiful thing ” (Pope Paul VI).