At least 65 pilgrims this morning started the last leg of their journey to Wii-Gweng village in Mucwini sub county, Kitgum district to celebrate the martyrdom of St Janani Luwum tomorrow, February 16th.
The pilgrims started their walk of faith on Saturday, February 12, with 45 Christians in Gulu. When they arrived in Kitgum municipality last evening, their number had swollen to 64 pilgrims in all.
There has been a change of plans on the location of the 45th anniversary of St. Janani Luwum. Initially, the national and local organizing committees had decided that the event be held in Kampala and Kitgum, with each diocese holding its own event, to avoid crowding due to the prevalent coronavirus pandemic.
However, on February 9th, the chairperson of the local organizing committee revealed that the archbishop of Church of Uganda, said the event would only be hosted in Kitgum. However, on Saturday 12th, the days the pilgrimage started, the plan was again changed to have two events.
Evelyn Ayaa, who is leading the pilgrims from Gulu, says they faced transport challenge to carry luggage and cooks.
Ayaa says the vehicle hired for them only took them through their first stop in Cwero, which is about 29 kilometers, of the 124-kilometer pilgrimage distance.
Ayaa explains that the Covid-19 pandemic which led to the closure of churches also left the diocese as well as the church and its parishes without money to fully prepare for the event.
She says they expected at least 250 people from Gulu City, but the change of plan to have another event in Kololo in Kampala besides the one in Kitgum confused many Christians which made them not to join the pilgrimage.
However, Ayaa counselled Born Again Christians to not backslide because of such eventualities. Referring to the Biblical Lot’s wife, she argued that when a Christian is doubtful and untrusting, they meet several challenges.
Francis Obedmot, the catechist of St. Janani Luwum Kitgum Town Parish that received the pilgrim last night, says the numerous changes of plan over the venue for the commemoration affected the preparation by the choir members.
An 80-year old pilgrim, Julius Peter Okene, who served as a catechist in Patiko Prison and Gulu central prison, says he started his journey from Patiko sub county in Gulu district.
Okene advises those who can to join to pilgrims on the journey to St. Janani Luwum’s final resting place to concretize their Christian faith.
The government set February 16th as a public holiday to celebrate the life and works of Archbishop Janani Luwum of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga Zaire, who was killed in February 1977.
This year’s celebration theme is; “Hope Beyond Affliction,” and it was taken from the book of Lamentations 3:21-25.
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