King Mtesa of Uganda, in Equatorial Africa, had allowed the White Catholic Fathers to preach the faith in his country with some good results. However, when his successor, King Mwanga assumed power in 1885, he initiated a fierce persecution against “all those who pray”, that is, all Catholics.
Among the victims of this persecution were the elite of the Ugandan youth, Charles Lwanga, the chief of the royal pages and twenty-one of his companions.
As their leader, Charles exhorted them by His words and left them an example by his death, since he was the first to be burned alive. Twelve others followed him on that same day on June 3, 1886 and January 27, 1887.
These young martyrs of Christ were beautified in 1920 and canonised in 1964 by Pope Paul VI who declared ” These African martyrs inaugurate a new age. Africa is rising free and redeemed, bathed in their blood.
Christianity has found a ready hearing in Africa and we see this as a mysterious plan of God, a vocation proper to Africa and a promise of historical significance. Africa is the new country of Christ.
A clear witness of this fact is the direct simplicity and unshakable fidelity of these young African Christians ”
To stand up for the truth in terms of one’s faith is amazing! May God bless all the youth of Africa to always stand for truth, integrity and fidelity. Amen
Happy feast day to all Charles. St Charles Lwanga and Companions, pray for us.
Compiled by Elvira Kudiabor