ST. JOSEPH MUKASA BALIKUDDEMBE
He is the Ugandan pro-martyr. He was born at Lusinga, Mitala Maria Parish in 1860. His father was Njubeseeta Mugerere Bakirabye of Kayozi and his mother was Maria Sara Kajwaayo a munyamwenge from Tooro. Brought up by his paternal uncle, Mazinga, he finally stayed in the enclosure of Chief Lukayi Kifuko Kabazzi from where he was taken as a page to King Muteesa I palace at Nabulagala aged about 14 years. He was tall, very brown, strong and stout, very handsome and dignified with a clear and strong voice. He was a skilled wrestler and accomplished runner too. He first went to the protestant missionaries for instruction and then joined the catholic missionaries on 2nd October 1880. He was baptized on 30th April 1882. Because of his great human and Christian virtues and dedication and commitment to both the King and Christianity, he was given several names ( Mugasa, the useful one, Balikuddembe ( Christians are at peace), Batuuka ( he never forgot his friends when he received a place of honour in Palace, Kirimaanyi, the strong one. He was an exceptionally gifted leader who organized the neophytes and catechumens and kept the faith alive during the self-imposed exile of the missionaries. He was a strong and courageous defender of the rights of others like in the case of Bishop Hannington. He had no scruples in telling the king the evils he did. He was a great planner and organizer. He was a very deeply convinced catholic, teacher of the faith, defender it and a strong apologist of the faith. He served faithfully the two kings, Muteesa I and Mwanga until due to the jealousies and malice of Kintu the prime Minister; he was handed over to him by Mwanga to be killed. Balikuddembe was beheaded and is body burnt on Sunday, November 15, 1885, at the age of twenty six. He was the first Catholic Martyr. Balikuddembe is Patron of politicians and chiefs.