Saturday, May 31, 2014

Namugongo Catholic Martyrs Shrine

Chilling. The Namugongo Catholic martyrs shrine is a very powerful place, and a very important place in Ugandan Christian's hearts. As the tour guide led us around the campus we learned of the persecutions Christians faced at the end of the 19th centurry. He detailed the gruesome executions of 22 Christians, 14 of whom were burned alive at the site of the present day shrine.To commemerate the sacrifices made by their ancestors, June 3rd is a national holiday in Uganda where people travel (on foot), from as far away as Kenya, to take part in religious services held in honor of the Christians who lost their lives that day. This dedication shows the importance religion plays in many Ugandan's lives, as well as the lengths they will go to to uphold and honor their religion. How does religion shape the Ugandan culture? What role does it play in everyday life? And how does this compare to modern day America?

6 comments:

  1. It is amazing to see the pilgrims walking to the shrine and those camped out days before June 3rd. We asked the question - what is important enough to spend days walking for?

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  2. The actions of the Martyrs is the definition of faith. So are the actions of the Pilgrams walking to the Martyrs Day celebration. This highlights the importance of relgion in the daily lives of many Ugandans. How does religion impact their economic and political decisions that relate to sustainable development?

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  3. I like you found the Shrine very awe-inspiring and very unique from all the activities we have done thus far on the trip. I think the site itself is a very graphic reminder of the turbulent relationship between religion and the government in the history of Uganda. One interesting thing I noted while at the shrine was how the children were essentially lounging on the artistic renditions of the martyrs' deaths. Do you think this is disrespectful? To address your question about religion in the culture of Uganda, I would say that religion is essential to the everyday lives of Ugandans. When talking to the MUBS students, they remarked that all the poor in Uganda look to faith as there only source of comfort in their difficult lives. Also, everything about the Ugandans lives are dictated by their faith and can be seen even in government offices. Do you think this close relationship with religion and culture in Uganda played a role in the passing of the anti-homosexuality bill?

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  4. It is so inspiring the dedication people from Uganda and the surrounding countries have to travel such a long distance for their faith. I have grown up in a religious home and it still amazes me the heroes I continue to learn about and the sacrifices they made for their beliefs. The dedication to faith I experienced at the shrine as many were praying and worshiping the Lord was beyond passionate. I have noticed more and more the power religion has in Uganda and that many of their cultural norms stem from their religion. Finally, in relation to political decisions I do not find their reliance on religion to be sustainable as citizens must be able to have freedom of their own beliefs. Such as what Hayley mentioned with the Anti-homosexuality Act.

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  5. I also found the shrine very interesting. I think that religion plays a big role in Ugandan culture; as we have seen throughout our trip. I am still amazed by how intertwined the government is with religion as well as the education in Uganda. Not only is it in their motto, "For God and My Country", but God is praised in their schools. At Sure Prospects, students sang praising Jesus during the opening ceremony. I feel that the intertwined aspect of religion gives Ugandans a common ground to build upon. This concept varies greatly from the United States which emphasizes the importance of the separation of church and state. Overall, I think that the importance of religion in Ugandan culture is beneficial to their communities by setting general norms and values.

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  6. I was really impressed and found the shrine very interesting. To many Ugandan's it represents their faith and how it is worth enough that people died for their belief in it. I would agree with Jessica and my fellow classmates were saying with the importance of reigion in Uganda as it is especially present in the national motto, "For God and My Country". I do think that religion played a role in the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This is due to the fact that when interepreted by many religions it is something that may be against their fairth and what they believe in. We have yet to see the full impact of this bill and I am hoping that it doesn't have harmful effects on Uganda.

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