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Christians mark 102nd anniversary of Irwa, Okello martyrdom

A christian recieves holy communion during prayers to mark 102 anniversary of martyrdom of Jildo Irwa and Daudi Okello. Courtesy photo

Agago, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Hundreds of Christians on Tuesday thronged Wi-polo Marty’s shrine in Paimol sub-county, Agago district to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Jildo Irwa and Daudi Okello.

The annual spiritual event was initially restricted to only 70 Christians due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, more 200 worshipers among them pilgrims who trekked on foot from Acholi sub-region turned up at the martyr’s shrine to commemorate the event.

The event was marked with strict adherence to standard operating procedures as Christians were subjected to observe the social distancing, mandatory facemask wearing, hand washing and temperature monitoring before accessing the 14 acres venue.

The mass was marked under the theme “Martyrdom of Daudi and Jildo: Healer of Covid-19”.

Fr Cyprian Ocen, the Parish priest of Patongo Catholic Parish in Agago district in his homily to the Christians urged them to emulate the good deeds of the martyrs.

Fr Joseph Okumu, the rector Wi-polo Martyrs shrine says despite getting the directive to host only 70 people, they got overwhelmed with the high number of people who turned up at the venue for prayers.

Helen Opwonya, one of the Christians who attended the prayers says the day was mixed with blessings and displeasure due to the few who turned up.

Opwonya who is one of the directors of St John Paul II College in Gulu says they were forced to leave out the majority of students who used to be part of the annual spiritual event due to the pandemic.

Blessed Okello and Irwa were Acholi catechists beatified by his holiness Pope John Paul II on October 20, 2002, among the 22 other Roman Catholic martyrs in Uganda.

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