St. Francis church in the snow in February

St. Charles Lwanga

Saint Charles Lwanga (1860-1886)


St. Charles Lwanga and his 21 companons are Ugandan martyrs. In 1884 the Baganda tribal leader Mutesa died and his son, Mwanga, took over the throne. Previusly Mutesa had allowed his subjects religious freedom and the ability to choose which religion they wanted to practice. But Mwanga felt threatened by Christianity because of its increased authority over his subjects and its condemnation of his violent actions. In 1885 Mwanga had three Baganda Anglicans killed in the start of his violent persecution of Christians. Charles Lwanga was the head royal page for Mwanga. He was the successor to a Catholic convert, Joseph Mukasa, who was killed in the early persecution He was to guide young converts in the Catholic teachings.

Over the next year Charles kept baptizing catechumens, protecting others from the King, and providing strength to other Catholics fearful of persecution. Word eventually reached Mwanga of these converts and he demanded that they renounce their faith or face execution. Charles and his catechumens refused. They were sentenced to death and killed. Their feast day is June 3 and St. Charles Lwanga is the patron saint of African Catholic youth action.

Please click here for a PDF of this Saint.


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