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The pilgrims from Uganda’s Lira Diocese who are now over 817 started their pilgrimage from Lira city on 18th May 2024, trekking through the districts of Kole, Oyam and Nwoya via Karuma Bridge to Kiryandongo. By 23rd May 2024, they have reached Migeera Catholic parish in Nakasongola district, which is under the juridical administration of Kasana Luwero diocese. Upon their arrival, where they were hospitably received by the priests and the Christians. At Migeera, the foot pilgrims are going to spend two more days.

Some pilgrims revealed that since they began the pilgrimage on 18th May 2024, they have benefitted a lot from the pilgrimage as it is helping them to pray fervently for the various needs. As pilgrims from Lira, they are happily attending daily evening Eucharistic celebrations which are being presided over by the priests who are also making the pilgrimage together with Christians.

Mr Goddy Akio the spokesperson of the pilgrims said that apart from joining in the daily evening Masses, the pilgrims are being helped to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet daily to help them understand better the mystery of God’s Mercy. He further said, healing and deliverance prayers are being conducted communally by the priests in collaboration with the members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal to help the pilgrims overcome some spiritual challenges that are deeply rooted in their respective families.

Recitations of the holy rosary is another communal prayer being conducted by the pilgrims to seek intercession from Mother Mary and also in line that the month of May is observed as the Month of the Holy Rosary.

The pilgrims are also faced with some challenges; one common challenge being faced is that some pilgrims are having major health complications and those with comorbidities are now using the motor vehicle to reach Namugongo following the advice from the doctors.  They are being transported from one station to another as they wait for those trekking.

In an interview with Goddy Akio, praying for those with health complications is part of the duty and obligation being performed by the pilgrims. Additionally, Akio further mentioned that they are also praying for the Diocese especially the Bishop, Priests, the Religious and other pastoral agents in the diocese so that they remain healthy, to enable them conduct effective evangelization.

He added that, as they trek, they are praying for love, peace and unity to prevail in Lango and the entire region so as to pave way for holistic development among the people of God. Among the 2024 Lira diocese foot pilgrims are the three (3) priests, two (2) religious women and the laity who are journeying to reach the catholic Martyrs’ shrine Namugongo.

During the pilgrimage, it is observed that the faithful wave to pilgrims and others are offering fruits, assorted beverages, and other soft food items to help them rejuvenate their strength in this walk of faith. The journey to Namugongo from Lira City is about 380 Kilometers and so far the foot pilgrims have covered approximately 186 kilometres and they are hoping to reach Namugongo Martyrs shrine before 3rd June.

Nebbi Catholic diocese is set to animate this year’s liturgy at Namugongo under the theme, “But As For Me and My House hold, We Shall Serve the Lord” a theme taken from the Book of Joshua 24:15. The main celebrant shall be the Arch Bishop Elect of Gulu Archdiocese Most Rev Raphael p’ Mony Wokorach.

Meanwhile, different pilgrims from other dioceses in Uganda including the international pilgrims are also set to arrive in the country to commemorate the Uganda Martyrs.  3rd June every year which is a solemnity of Uganda Martyrs is a public holiday in Uganda.

Fr Isaac Ojok

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