A somber atmosphere enveloped the family of a Catholic faithful from Chemase in Uasin Gishu as their loved one collapsed while trekking to Uganda’s Namugongo Shrine for the annual prayers commemorating 13 Roman Catholics burnt to death on June 3, 1886.

Abraham Kimutai Muke, speaking to the press as the Kenyan team arrived at Amagoro before crossing into Uganda, shared the tragic news of Joseph Chepkurui Sinon’s collapse, halting his journey due to the arduous conditions.

While mourning the loss of Chepkurui, the pilgrimage has also been a platform for special prayers for peace in Kenya and resolution of the country’s pressing issues, according to Muke.

Catechist Dominon Suter from Marigat recounted the journey’s start on May 8, 2024, highlighting the pilgrimage’s purpose of self-reflection, church unity, and addressing global social challenges.

Despite facing challenges like recent floods, the pilgrims expressed gratitude for subsiding waters, allowing them to continue their journey.

The oldest member of the pilgrimage, 75-year-old Valentine Yego, expressed gratitude for the strength given by God, urging fellow Christians to guide them on their triumphant entry to Namugongo.

Among the pilgrims is 25-year-old Irene Chelagat, who thanked God for the strength to join the journey and encouraged other youths to partake in spiritual endeavors.

Sister Sarah Ragier of the Asumbi sisters from Kaplong in Kericho Diocese shared her anticipation of experiencing Uganda for the first time, expecting to gain new insights and spiritual growth.

The pilgrimage holds significance in commemorating the 22 Roman Catholics killed under the order of King Kabaka II, with 13 of them meeting their demise at Namugongo. The village served as an execution site for prisoners and those targeted by the King’s wrath, with the remaining martyrs meeting their fate elsewhere.