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Friday 21 June |
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Saint of the Day: St. Charles Lwanga and the Martyrs of Uganda

Patron saints of Equatorial Africa

CHARLES LWANGA

Rachel Strohm CC

Martyrs (d. 1886 and 1887)

Their story

+ This group of martyrs includes 22 royal pages of Uganda’s King Mwanga.

+ Led by Charles Lwanga and Joseph Mukasa, the young men were killed because of their Christian Faith and their refusal to obey the immoral and abusive orders of the king. A group of Anglican Christians also suffered the same fate.

+ Although the king believed the murders would bring an end to Christianity, the number of catechumens grew from 800 to 3,000 in the year after the martyrs’ deaths.

+ The Martyrs of Uganda were canonized in 1964, during the Third Session of the Second Vatican Council. Saint Charles Lwanga and his companions are honored as the patron saints of Equatorial Africa. The various churches of the Anglican Communion also honor the Martyrs of Uganda on this day.’

For prayer and reflection

Who could have predicted to the famous African confessors and martyrs such as Cyprian, Felicity, Perpetua and – the greatest of all – Augustine, that we would one day add names so dear to us as Charles Lwanga and Matthias Mulumba Kalemba and their 20 companions? Nor must we forget those members of the Anglican Church who also died for the name of Christ.

These African martyrs herald the dawn of a new age. If only the mind of man might be directed not toward persecutions and religious conflicts but toward a rebirth of Christianity and civilization!.”—Pope Saint Paul VI

Spiritual bonus

One June 3, we also remember Saint Clotilde. The daughter of the king of Burgundy, she married Clovis, king of the Franks, and helped bring about his conversion to Christianity. The couple had three sons and, following Clovis’ death in 511, she spent the remaining years of her life serving the poor and caring for the sick. Saint Clotilde died in Tours, France, in 545, and was honored as a saint immediately after her death. She is honored as one of the patron saint of parents.

Prayer

O God, who have made the blood of Martyrs
the seed of Christians,
mercifully grant that the field which is your Church,
watered by the blood
shed by Saints Charles Lwanga and his companions,
may be fertile and always yield you an abundant harvest.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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