President Museveni has donated Shs100 million meant for the beautification of Paimol Martyrs shrine in Wipolo Parish, Paimol Sub-county Agago District.
The president’s donation was on Saturday delivered by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah who was chief guest at the 100th commemoration to celebrate the martyrdom of Acholi Martyrs Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa.
Okello and Irwa were young Acholi Catechists who were killed in 1918 for spreading Christianity in East Acholi, the present Day Kitgum District.
They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2002 and each year, thousands of pilgrims from all walks of life gather at Paimol Martyrs shrine to celebrate their martyrdom every October 20.
This year’s celebration marked under the theme “Faith, courage and witness washed in the blood of the lamb” attracted more than 30,000 pilgrims from within Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Russia, USA and Italy, according to organisers.
Several Ugandan dignitaries and politicians among others the Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party secretary General Kasule Lumumba,
former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president Gen Mugisha Muntu and Leader of Opposition Betty Aol Ocan attended the prayers.
While disclosing the donation, Mr Oulanyah said the money will help in supporting the operation and activities of the shrines adding that it will also help to upgrade it into a tourist site.
“The president would have been here himself but he delegated me, besides only delegating me, he has also sent money worth Shs100 million meant to improve activities in this shrine,” Mr Oulanyah told pilgrims.
The Gulu Arch Diocese Arch Bishop John Baptist Odama led the three hours Eucharistic mass at the shrine.
The Nebbi Catholic Diocese Bishop Sanctus Lino Wanok in his sermon asked Christians to emulate the faith and courage exhibited by the two martyrs.
He noted that the two martyrs despite being young at the time of their death, never feared to speak the truth and tasked the youth to do the same.
“The youth are being manipulated all over the world for their courage, their faith and for their righteousness. People take them the wrong way and misuse the youth.
I am happy that the youth are waking up to the truth of life and becoming the witness like the Uganda Martyrs,” Bishop Wanok said.
Tight security at the shrine
Mr Jimmy Patrick Okema, the Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson said five people were arrested at the shrine and were in possession of opium while five knives were also recovered from suspects who had intention to harm pilgrims.
Mr Okema said the suspects arrested in possession of opium have since been transferred to Patongo Police station for further investigation.
By Daily Monitor