Pilgrim drops dead on arrival to Namugongo for Martyrs day

There is a somber mood at the Uganda Martyrs Anglican shrine, following the death of one of the pilgrims.

 Jackline Arinaitwe, 49, a resident of Katokori Village in Katanda Sub in Rubirizi District collapsed to death mid-Monday morning. 

According to Rev. Bernard Amujuni, who lead 103 pilgrims from West Ankole, Arinaitwe was jolly all long from home and seemed okay.

 He adds that the deceased was moving with vigor as they embarked on the last Mile having covered 380kilometers from home but suddenly collapsed and fell down minutes after the group had passed by the Catholic shrines at around 11:00 am.    

Rev Amujuni notes that he rushed to hold Arinaitwe and thought of rushing her to the nearby Zai Angelina health unit, but she was already cold.

 He held the lifeless body on the streets for several minutes until he saw a church official from their home.

 As crowds gathered, the police were alerted and arrived at the scene only to confirm that the pilgrim had passed away.     
       

The pilgrims left their homes in West Ankole on May 20th, 2022, and made 10 stopovers. 

Prior to the departure of the pilgrims, the clergy from both the Catholic and Anglican churches requested the faithful with any health condition not to walk to Namugongo. 

They also advised the pilgrims to go for a medical checkup where possible before embarking on the lock trek.     

However, only a few people, if not none, usually heed this advice. 

Amujuni notes this particular advice was critical for the Anglicans given the fact that many of them are not used to this journey.   

“Anglicans from our diocese are not yet used to the long-distance as many of them are just starting to make the pilgrimage. From west Ankole, this is just the seventh year for them to walk to Namugongo with many walking for the first time,” he said.  

In a recent interview, Rt. Rev Sheldon Mwesigwa, the Bishop of Ankole Diocese noted that Anglicans never used to make a pilgrimage to Namugongo due to the teachings of their church. 

He however noted that over the years, the Anglican theology on martyrs has had influence from Catholics with many Anglicans yarning to move on foot to pay homage to the martyrs who were killed because of their faith.   

Meanwhile, the Anglican site seemed not prepared as far as health preparations for the pilgrims are concerned.

 Unlike their counterpart at the Catholic shrines who have erected tents where each group of pilgrims arriving is kept and observed for some minutes and given some care, this is lacking at the Anglican shrines.

Those who arrive are just welcomed and told to find a place to sit.

 Following the morning incident, Rev. Esua Bossa Kimanje, the vicar in charge of Namugongo Martyrs site noted that they are in the process of setting up a tent where they will hold the new pilgrims to ensure that they are well after covering the long journey. 

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