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St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Monday June 3, 2024

St. Charles Lwanga was born in the Kingdom of Buganda, now part of Uganda, in 1860. He was a royal page. King Mwanga II, a pedophile treated the young men at court immorally.

A group of missionaries called the White Fathers came during the reign of the previous king. They were preparing members of the court for baptism. Joseph Mukasa, a Catholic catechist, tried to protect the boys and spoke against the king. Mwanga had him killed.

Charles Lwanga, a catechumen, helped teach the younger boys the faith. He also protected them from the king. When Joseph Mukasa was killed, Charles and the younger boys went to the White Fathers to be baptized. Charles kept protecting the younger boys from the king's advances.

Several months later, when the king found out that one of the pages was studying catechism, he angry and ordered all the Christians to be put in a separate group. They ranged in age from 13 to mid-twenties. The king asked them to renounce Christianity because they would not perform immoral acts with him. The young men refused to deny their faith in Christ. They were condemned to death and sent on a two day march to a traditional execution site. Three were murdered during the march.

St. Charles was separated from the group and burned alive. While burning he said to the executioner, "It is as if you are pouring water on me. Please repent and become a Christian like me." The rest of the group, some Catholic and some Anglicans, were also burnt alive.

St. Charles Lwanga died at age 26.

Their feast day is June 3.

Daily Mass Readings for the Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs 8477 576

  • First Reading - 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14: Seven brothers and their mother were tortured for refusing to break God's law. They bravely chose death, expressing faith that God would raise them to eternal life.
  • Responsorial Psalm - Psalm 124: The Lord saved us from danger when others rose against us. The snare was broken, and we were freed. Our help is in the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
  • Gospel - Matthew 5:1-12a: Jesus teaches the Beatitudes, promising blessings for the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, and the persecuted.

Homilies and Reflections for St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

St. Charles Lwanga and Companions (Video)

Bishop Robert Barron tells the story of St. Charles and many other martyrs for the faith who died between November 15, 1885 – January 27, 1887 in Namugongo, Uganda. St. Charles and his companions were beatified in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.

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Questions and Answers about St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs

Who was St. Charles Lwanga?

St. Charles Lwanga was a royal page in the Kingdom of Buganda, now Uganda, born in 1860.

Who were St. Charles Lwanga and Companions?

They were a group of young men who were martyred for their faith in Uganda in the 1880s.

What date is the memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions?

Their memorial is observed annually on June 3. The next date for the feast is Monday June 3, 2024.

What are the Mass readings for their memorial?

First Reading 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14: The Courage of Seven Brothers
Responsorial PsalmPsalm 124: Rescued from Danger
GospelMatthew 5:1-12a: The Beatitudes

Why is St. Charles Lwanga remembered?

He is remembered for protecting young boys from King Mwanga II and for being martyred for his faith.

Who was King Mwanga II?

King Mwanga II was the ruler of Buganda who persecuted and killed Christians, including St. Charles Lwanga and Companions.

What did St. Charles Lwanga do for the younger boys?

He taught them the Christian faith and protected them from the king’s immoral advances.

Who were the White Fathers?

The White Fathers were missionaries who evangelized members of the court and baptized them during the reign of the previous king.

What happened to Joseph Mukasa?

Joseph Mukasa was a Catholic catechist who spoke against the king and was executed by him.

Why were St. Charles Lwanga and Companions martyred?

They were martyred because they refused to renounce their Christian faith and submit to the king’s immoral demands.

How did St. Charles Lwanga die?

He was burned alive for refusing to deny his faith.

Conclusion

St. Charles Lwanga was born in 1860 in the Kingdom of Buganda, which is now part of Uganda. He served as a royal page. King Mwanga II, who ruled at that time, treated the young men at court immorally. A group of missionaries, called the White Fathers, had arrived during the reign of the previous king. They were preparing members of the court for baptism.

Joseph Mukasa, a Catholic catechist, tried to protect the boys from the king and spoke out against him. King Mwanga had Joseph Mukasa executed. Charles Lwanga, who was a catechumen, helped teach the younger boys the Christian faith. He also protected them from the king's advances. After Joseph Mukasa was killed, Charles and the younger boys went to the White Fathers to be baptized.

Several months later, the king found out that one of the pages was studying catechism. He became angry and ordered all the Christians to be separated from the others. They ranged in age from 13 to their mid-twenties. The king asked them to renounce Christianity and perform immoral acts for him. The young men refused to deny their faith. They were sentenced to death and sent on a two-day march to a traditional execution site. Three were killed during the march.

St. Charles Lwanga was separated from the group and burned alive. While burning, he told the executioner, "It is as if you are pouring water on me. Please repent and become a Christian like me." The rest of the group, some Catholic and some Anglican, were also burned alive. St. Charles Lwanga died at the age of 26. The feast day of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions is June 3.

Your Turn

Learn more about St. Charles Lwanga and Companions and their brave stand for faith. Their story shows the power of belief and courage. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section. Your voice matters in keeping their memory alive. Let’s discuss and remember their sacrifice together.

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