Monday, 3 June 2013
Charles Lwanga (1860 – June 3, 1886) was a Ugandan Catholic catechist martyred for his faith. Born in the kingdom of Buganda in the southern part of modern Uganda, he served as a page in the court of King Mwanga II.
King Mwanga began to insist Christian converts abandon their faith, and executed many Anglicans and Roman Catholics between 1885 and 1887, many of them officials in the court. Following a massacre of Anglicans in 1885, the court's resident Catholic priest, Joseph Mukasa, reproached the king. Mwanga had Mukasa beheaded and arrested all of his followers. Lwanga took up Mukasa's duties, and secretly baptized those of his pupils who had only been catechumens on May 26, 1886. Lwanga and 11 other Catholics were burnt alive on June 3 (another Catholic, Mbaga Tuzinde, was clubbed to death for refusing to renounce Christianity, and his body was thrown into the furnace to be burned along with Lwanga and the others). One of the reported reasons for this persecution was because they refused to agree to demands to participate in homosexual acts with him. Lwanga, in particular, protected pages from the King's sexual advances.
You have made the blood of the martyrs
the seed of Christians.
May the witness of Saint Charles and his companions
and their loyalty to Christ in the face of torture
inspire countless men and women
to live the Christian faith.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.