June 3. St Charles Lwanga, St Kizito and Uganda martyrs.  The Ugandan youth at St Kizito’s parish had invited all their fellow Ugandan youth to pay special honour to the 22 young boy martyrs, some Catholic and some Anglican, as true witnesses of the Christian faith. Obed explained, ”Charles Lwanga was a catechist and leader but Kizito at age 14 was the youngest in the group. In 1886 King Mwanga, who despised Christianity gave orders for the pages in his service to do what they saw as sinful homosexual acts.  As a punishment for their refusal to obey him they were condemned to death, tied up in a grass mat, put on a pyre and burnt to death. The story is told that Kizito, who was baptised just before his death, was dancing and singing for joy to be allowed to die for Jesus.”  Obed asked the others in the group, “is it not also like the story of the 7 brothers and their mother in the Old Testament book of Maccabees?  Do you think we would be prepared to die for our beliefs?” 

When the young man had been tortured and was near death he said, ”You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the Universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life because we have died for his laws.”  2 Maccabees 7:9-14.

Pope Francis: The heart of the Church is full of young saints who devoted their lives to Christ, many of them dying a martyr’s death. Their radiant witness encourages us and awakens us from our lethargy. Their example shows what young people are capable of, when you open yourselves up to encounter Christ. They showed us that there is another way to spend our youth.  CV49