Ordinary Time: June 3rd
Memorial of St. Charles Lwanga and Companions, martyrs
Previous Calendar: Corpus Christi; St. Clotilde, widow (RM)
King Mwanga of Uganda launched persecutions of Christians in response to their opposition to his homosexual and corrupt court. St. Charles was martyred with twelve companions on June 3, 1886; others were killed later. Some of the victims, almost a hundred in all, were very young or newly baptized. They were the first black Catholic martyrs of Africa and were canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1964.
St. Charles Lwanga and Companions
Charles was one of twenty-two Ugandan martyrs who converted from paganism. He was baptized November 1885, a year before his death, and became a moral leader. He was the chief of the royal pages and was considered the strongest athlete of the court. He was also known as "the most handsome man of the Kingdom of the Uganda." He instructed his friends in the Catholic Faith and he personally baptized boy pages. He inspired and encouraged his companions to remain chaste and faithful. He protected his companions, ages 13-30, from the immoral acts and homosexual demands of the Babandan ruler, Mwanga.
- Learn more about Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria. See what the Catholic Relief Services are doing and how you might help. Visit the Missionary Childhood Association to find out more about mission work in Africa and to find activities and prayer services.
- These Christian martyrs refused to give in to the homosexual demands of the king. They are saints who respected their bodies and loved the commandments of God. Pray today to be strong in times of temptations against purity. Read the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's document, Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.
St. Clotilde was Queen of the Franks, born in Lyons France, probably around the year 470. In 492 or 493, she married Clovis, king of the Franks, converting him to Christianity on Christmas Day. When Clovis died in 511, Clotilde had to deal with feuds and murders conducted by her sons: Clodomir, king of Orleans; Childebert I, king of Paris; and Clotaire, king of Soissons and the Franks. When Clotaire killed two of his nephews, who were the brothers of St. Clodoald (Cloud), Clotilde left Paris and resided thereafter in Tours.
Things to Do:
- Read this longer biography of St. Clotilde by Fr. Butler.