In a special sitting, the Ugandan Parliament has paid glowing tribute to Pope St. Paul VI for canonising 22 Catholic Martyrs in 1964 and contributing to the development of faith in their country.
Amidst the ongoing SECAM plenary assembly and golden jubilee celebrations, the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda announced Thursday that the country’s Members of Parliament have debated and paid tribute to Pope Saint Paul VI. According to information from Parliament, reported by Vatican News, Pope Saint Paul VI’s acts in favour of Uganda have given the country immense international recognition.
Pope Saint Paul VI canonised the Uganda Martyrs and later visited Uganda in 1969. During that visit, the Pope inaugurated the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa (SECAM) in Uganda.
SECAM Bishops in Parliament
Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper reported that the motion seeking a resolution of Parliament to pay tribute to Pope Saint Paul VI was moved by Amuru District Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Lucy Akello. Catholic Bishops of Africa, who are currently in Uganda for the week-long SECAM golden jubilee and plenary assembly, observed the proceedings in the House, from the distinguished guests’ gallery.
During the parliamentary debate, Ms Akello said Pope Saint Paul VI’s canonisation and visit to Uganda contributed to the development of faith in the country. The act led to the declaration of 3 June as a public holiday known as Martyrs Day.
The Amuru District MP further suggested that Uganda find a suitable way of demonstrating the country’s indebtedness to Pope Saint Paul VI and to then Archbishop of Kampala, Joseph Kiwanuka for his contribution to the country.
Missionary of Africa (White Father) and Ugandan Archbishop of Kampala, Joseph Nakabaale Kiwanuka was one of the first Africans to be ordained a Catholic Bishop. He was present when Pope Paul VI canonised the Uganda Martyrs on 18 October 1964, in Rome.
Seconding the motion, Ruhinda North MP Mr Thomas Tayebwa also agreed that Pope Paul VI contributed highly to the spiritual development of the country.
Tribute to early missionaries
First Deputy Prime Minister, General Moses Ali said, “I also want to pay tribute to the Missionaries who brought religion (to Uganda). I don’t know what Uganda would be without these people (Missionaries) coming, and now we are peaceful because they prayed for the country,” Gen Ali said.
Uganda’ Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga recognised and acknowledged the presence of SECAM Bishops who visited Parliament and interacted with MPs and staff.
President of the Uganda Episcopal Conference (UEC), Bishop Joseph Anthony Zziwa, commended Parliament for passing the motion to pay tribute to Pope Saint Paul VI and late Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka.