Uganda

Fruitful evangelization, with the help of Mary

The first Catholic missionaries left from Our Lady of Africa in Algiers, and arrived in Entebe, Uganda, on February 17, 1879. On May 31, 1890, they pronounced the following consecration:

"We, the undersigned missionaries of Uganda, consecrate to you, O Mary Immaculate, the mission of Nyanza. We offer and consecrate to you our souls and bodies, our whole life, works, death and eternal happiness. We beg you to be our Mistress and Superior, so that we may know and fulfill for you and with you the will of your Son, for whose glory we want to sacrifice ourselves totally. We declare that if any good be done in this place, the merit shall be yours, and that, by you, everything shall serve for the glory of your divine Son. » [1]

Through Marian devotion, Catholicism spread at a surprising speed, despite Muslim attacks, Protestant propaganda, and the terrible persecution of 1885-1886 waged by King Mwanga I. In fact the Catholic faith took hold so well in Uganda that the country became known as "the pearl of the African mission" ​​and "Mary’s Kingdom."

Baptisms were numerous, in spite of the fact that the examination before receiving this sacrament was difficult for the natives. The tokens of gratitude were very moving, considering the general poverty level: people would give very high alms, others a fast of 8 days.

Christians reached 42% of the population.

Years of tyranny and civil war: Mary at the foot of the Uganda Cross

The country gained its independence in 1962, and its first constitution moved towards a federal union of the four kingdoms of the country. But in January 1971, Idi Amin Dada took power by a coup. His tyrannical regime was accused of the death or disappearance of nearly 300,000 Ugandans, before collapsing in 1979.

From 1988 to 2006, the "Lord's Resistance Army" (not affiliated with the Catholic Church) fought the regular army in the north of the country in order to overthrow President Museveni, but failed to succeed. Terrorism has increased in the country, with children (80% of the workforce) often being the victims of kidnapping, mutilation and rape. Great atrocities are regularly committed against civilians.

During all these years of destruction (1971-2006), devotion to Mary encouraged by the Catholic faith restored the ideals of virginity, motherhood and sacrifice among the faithful. New congregations were born: the "Disciples of Jesus" and "Brothers of Mary," the feminine “Institute of Mary Mother of the Church" and the “Congregation of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate."

In October 1970, on the occasion of the pilgrimage of Our Lady of Fatima organized throughout Africa by the Blue Army, a veritable “human river” went to the cathedral of Kampala, the country’s capital, to celebrate Mary and participate in the Mass.

Saint John Paul II visited Uganda on February 7, 1993, to honor the martyrs of Uganda and encourage Christians to be a light for their country.

Marian shrines, places of pilgrimage, parishes devoted to Mary in a special way

Uganda has several Marian shrines that are places of pilgrimage:

Metu: Our Lady

Lodonga: Mary Mediatrix

Nnaakulabye: Our Lady of Fatima

In addition, 80% of churches have a Marian title. We must also mention all the parishes that have promoted a strong Marian life, Buddu and Paidha for example.

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Attilio GALLI, Madre della Chiesa dei Cinque Continenti, Ed Segno, Udine, 1997, p. 773-785