Catholic church to transport stranded pilgrims

The Catholic Church has pledged to transport pilgrims who are stranded at the Namugongo shrine following the annual June 3 Martyrs' Day celebrations.

Namugongo Parish Catholic priest Vincent Lubega revealed that numerous have sought transport assistance from his office, some unable to recall their dioceses of origin.

“They need guidance. If we give them money, they are going to eat it. So we are going to zone them from where they come from. We are going to put them in the bus up to their dioceses and they will be helped from there,” he suggested.

By Tuesday evening, over 100 pilgrims, mostly those who trekked to the shrine, were still stranded without means to return home.

Joyce Likicoru, a pilgrim from Arua, was stranded with 35 other pilgrims after the bus they paid to drop and pick them after the commemoration failed to return.

“The bus went back to its usual business and it was supposed to pick us yesterday. We are in touch with them and hopeful that anytime they will be here,” Likicoru added.

At the Anglican site, few pilgrims were seen appearing stranded with Joan Kenyonyozi from Bushenyi among.

They kept pacing between the police post at the entrance of the martyrs' site and the church offices in search of assistance.

Kenyonyozi said she came walking with a group of pilgrims but did not have money to take her back home.

She explained that a friend back home had promised to send her mobile money for the return journey.

“I have been trying to reach her since yesterday, but I couldn’t because the phone is off. I have tried to reach out to my relatives, but they also say they have no money,” Kenyonyozi told Monitor.

John Misago, 86, from Luwero, said the team he came with left him behind as he had gone to a nearby health facility for treatment.

 “I fell off the truck around Kireka Junction as we headed to the Catholic Martyrs’ Shrine and injured my legs. Immediately after the mass, I decided to go for treatment. I came back late and found that the people I had come with had left me,” Misago said as he shivered.

By press time, police officers at the shrine were still looking for buses heading north so they could drop him in Luwero District.

Tanzanian Pilgrims commended for cleaning

Tanzanian pilgrims were on Tuesday commended for voluntarily cleaning the shrine after the Martyrs' Day celebrations.

The event, which attracted millions of pilgrims, left the sites disorganized and dirty.

 “They have done a very good job, but the job to be done is too much, so they will not be able to finish the entire place. The church will begin from where they will end,” Father Lubega said.

According to the priest, the church will collaborate with Nebbi Diocese to continue the cleaning estimated to last at least a week.

Meanwhile, transport fares started returning to normal as most pilgrims departed Namugongo.

The fare from Namugongo to Kampala, which was Shs10,000 on Monday had dropped to about Shs5, 000 by Tuesday evening.

A taxi from Namugongo to Kireka-Banda was charging Shs1,000 to 2,000, down from Shs4,000 to 5,000 shillings the previous day. A boda boda from Namugongo to Kireka was charging between Shs2,000 to Shs3,000, down from Shs7,000

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