Preparations are in high gear in Paimol Sub-county, Agago District, ahead of celebrations to mark 100 years of the martyrdom of Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa.
The two martyrs were killed in 1918 in then East Acholi, present day Kitgum District, because of spreading Christianity.
Kalongo Deanery will lead the celebrations scheduled for October 20 at Paimol Catholic Shrine.
Several pilgrims from Gulu, Kampala, Lira, Nebbi and Arua dioceses have started trekking to the shrine.
Mr Johnisan Ocakacon, who trekked from Gulu to the shrine, said his pilgrimage is to strengthen his faith.
“I have walked to Paimol for the second time. I have received whatever I prayed for and this is why I will keep walking to that place,” he said.
The Acholi Parliamentary Group chairperson, Prof Ogenga Latigo, said all is set for the celebrations.
“Pilgrims are continuing to come in big numbers and the shrine is well maintained. The people are also well prepared spiritually,” said Prof Latigo, who is also the Agago MP.
The Agago Woman MP, Ms Franca Akello, said they are working to provide social amenities at the shrine.
“We are grateful to the ministry of Water for extending water to the shrine unlike in the past celebrations when water was a challenge to the pilgrims,” she said.
Ms Akello said celebrating 100 years should challenge the government and Christians on how best the shrine can be improved to match international standards.
Ms Florence Lamunu, the chairperson of the organising committee, said they are expecting more than 10,000 pilgrims at this year’s celebrations.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Faith, Courage and Witness’. President Museveni is expected to be the guest of honour.
About the martyrs
Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa were speared to death on October 20, 1918 by people believed to have been agents of Arab slave traders for preaching against slavery. Pope John Paul II beatified the two on October 20, 2002. Uganda celebrates other martyrs on June 3 at the main shrines in Namugongo where at least 43 Catholic and Anglican converts were killed on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II between 1885 and 1886.