GULU. Plans are underway to develop St Paul’s Church of Uganda in Wii-Gweng village, Mucwin Subcounty, in Kitgum District, the place where former Archbishop Janani Luwum was buried, into a pilgrimage site.
Archbishop Luwum, now a saint, was killed on February 17, 1977, a day after he was arrested by former president Idi Amin along with other two ministers Erinayo Wilson Oryema and Oboth Ofumbi.
St Janani Luwum was a critic of former President Amin’s dictatorial government, and on several occasions, challenged him on his ruthless leadership.
Preparations for the 40th anniversary of St Janani Luwum is scheduled for Febraury 16, at the burial site in Mucwiny.
Dr Olara Otunnu, the co-chair of the St Janani Luwum memorial, told Daily Monitor that the chief celebrant of the memorial will be Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, the chief intercessor will be Archbishop John Baptisit Odama, and special and memorial preacher will be the Bishop of Bristol in the United Kingdom, the Rt Rev Mike Hill, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. The guest of honour will be President Museveni.
Mr Otunnu said on the big day, there will be the unveiling of a master plan for the design, planning and development of the Wii-gweng as the memorial and pilgrimage site, that is an equivalent of Namugongo Martyr’s Shrine.
“The master plan will include a new modern church, a tomb around his grave, a sculpture profile of him, and a prayer arena”, Mr Otunnu revealed.
Northern Uganda Diocese retired bishop Benoni Abwong Ogwal said the martyrdom of St Janani Luwum was a gift from God. “Much as it was done in an evil way, the blood of St Janani Luwum, is the seed of the Church, it made the Church to grow,” Bishop Ogwal said.
According to Bishop Ogwal, the light of faith that Janani lit in this country shone throughout the world. “I lived in many parts of the world and saw the reverence and respect people showed Janani Luwum. He is one of the matrys of the 20th Century whose statue was put in Westminster Abbey in England, the Queen’s Church,” he said.
In 2015, President Museveni declared a public holiday in memory of St Janani Luwum that is celebrated every February 16.
In the United Kingdom, a street was named in memory of Luwum while an effigy at the West Minster Abey also stands in honour of the Anglican Martyr.
In California, USA, Luwum memorial lecture is conducted annually while Luwum Foundation in the Episcopal Church was also founded.