DPC Lira City Central Abel Ruganza addressing catholic pilgrims at St Kizito primary school beforethey set off. PHOTO URN

12yr-Old Pilgrim Footing to Namugongo Eyes Chief Whip Obua’s Seat

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Thirty-six children have this year joined hundreds of other elderly foot pilgrims in a walk of faith to Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo.

The majority of the children are from the Catholic diocese of Lira. One is from the Diocese of Lango- Anglican.

These children between the ages of 8 to 16 years, mostly girls will endure walking for the next 14 days, covering a total distance of 343 kilometers or 213 miles. The Catholic ones set off in the early morning hours of Saturday.

Zadock Obonyo, a 12-year-old pilgrim from Alanyi Catholic parish in Ajuri county dreams of replacing Denis Hamson Obua, the Government Chief Whip who is also his area member of Parliament from his seat.

He said he will not be deterred by the status of his parents to fulfill his dream of becoming a Member of Parliament.  Part of the efforts to fulfill his dream is through prayers as he foots to Namugongo. He said he has been told God listens if one prays.

Rosanna Hope Kia, an eight-year-old from Ngetta parish is the youngest pilgrim this year. She believes that Jesus will hold her hand and the holy spirit will guide her through her journey.

Kia wants God to forgive her and her family’s shortfalls and grant her wisdom to become a successful teacher in the future.

Another child walking to Namugongo from Lira Diocese is 11-year-old Deogratius Odora, from Apac Parish who is praying for confidence and wealth to help him support his parents.

Leaders do not consider the young pilgrims a burden to them because they are healthy and energetic.

Rev. Fr Peter Paul Okuta, the Lira Diocesan Spiritual Director for pilgrims says the pilgrims are now better organized following the interruptions by COVID-19.

Dickens Ogwal, the chairperson of Pilgrims from the Anglican Diocese of Lango describes foot pilgrimage as a retreat that allows one to renew their faith.

To ensure that everyone is well, the Anglican pilgrims make a stop at every top of the hour to say a prayer.

“That also in a way helps us to regulate the speed and also have everyone together that is why we normally move as a family; no one is ahead or behind so we move as a family within the regulated speed.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Jimmy Okema, the North Kyoga Regional Police Spokesperson confirmed the readiness of security to protect the pilgrims but advised them to be cautious during the journey.

Foot pilgrimage to the internationally acclaimed pilgrimage site has gained momentum after the relaxation of the covid-19 restrictions which barred people from accessing the site in two consecutive years.

*Source – URN*



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