Uganda Martyrs Day

From a speech by Blessed Pope Paul VI ( † 1978) at canonization
of the Ugandan martyrs in 1964·

Who could have foreseen
that we to famous holy martyrs and confessors
from the history of Africa,
like Cyprian , Felicitas and Perpetua and the great Augustine,
would add more men
as Carolus lwanga and Mattias Kalemba
– names that are dear to us –
and their twenty companions?
And we want to mention those others as well
belonging to the Anglican Confession
and also suffered death for Christ’s name.

These African martyrs
really usher in a new era.
And don’t let the mind focus now
to persecution and religious strife,
but on the new birth in Christian and social terms.
Africa is drenched in the blood of these martyrs,
the first of this new age
and by God’s will also the last ,
for their burnt offering was great and precious.
This Africa is now being reborn
as a free and independent continent.

The martyrdom of these people
is very but also significant.
It provides a sufficient and clear basis
for the moral formation of a new people.
It strengthens the spiritual traditions
to be passed on to posterity.
This also symbolizes and promotes
a certain development.

From a simple and primitive way of life,
in which excellent human values were certainly not lacking,
but which were marred and weakened
by the yoke of slavery
and who was, as it were, imprisoned in her own circle,
must pass to civil civilization,
assigning higher values
to the human mind
and strives for better social relations.

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