Christianity came to Uganda towards the end of 19th century. The Church Missionary Society (CMS) were the first European Anglican missionaries to arrive in Uganda in June 1877. Two years later in 1879 they were followed by the first Catholic Missionaries (White Fathers). Both sets of missionaries were welcomed by King of Buganda (Muteesa I) in his kingdom situated in central Uganda.

Overcoming hardships and persecution with Mary

In 1885 when Mwanga son of Muteesa was now King, he fell-out with the missionaries because they had spread Christianity that was making his subjects disobey him and ignore traditional beliefs. He expelled them out of his kingdom and ordered his officials and servants who had converted to choose between being loyal to him and Christianity. He directed that those who defied his orders be killed as lesson to the rest of his subjects. As result 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic Christians died for the faith. These executions happened between 31st January 1885 and 27th January 1887. The youngest among them, Kizito, was only 13 years. They were killed at various locations but majority of them met their death at a place called Namugongo (a place where years later the Uganda Martyrs’ shrine was built). They were canonised in 1964 in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Pope Paul IV.

Interestingly, as Charles’ Lwanga and Companions were being led to be executed, they kept reciting the rosary. Praying together gave them courage. I suppose even some them who were not so strong spiritually and perhaps could have easily given in to the King’s orders were energized because of the power of prayer. This is certainly what communal prayer can do.

As we know we are gifted differently, we have different levels of faith. Many of us might find it a little bit difficult to pray frequently on our own and yet if we pray as family or group then it can become a little easier. The current pandemic has enabled us to spend more time with our families, our loved ones, those we share a home with. This could be as well a time to strengthen our bond as family, more so, creating time to pray together as members of the same household. Am sure many of us know the saying that a family that prays together stays together.