His Grace Cyprian Lwanga,
The Bishops,
All worshippers.

We thank God for the gift of life and for enabling us to get together for this conference. I am made to understand that this conference is part of the preparations for the Golden Jubilee Celebrations next year in remembrance of the Uganda martyrs who will be making 50 years since canonization in 1964. I welcome all of you, and I salute all you who have given their time to attend this conference. In a special way, I wish on behalf of Government and people of Uganda, to welcome all our visitors who have travelled from neighboring countries and beyond. The significance of the Uganda Martyrs transcends even our borders, as is manifest by all the pilgrims from other countries who have made it a commitment to visit Namugongo every 3rd of June.

Their sacrifice is very significant in the lives of all Ugandans. It signifies a strong divine foundation on which Uganda is built, that became a reality as a result of the blood of Uganda Martyrs. It indeed reminds us of our obligation to love God, love our country and love one another. The resolve exhibited by the Uganda Martyrs in commitment to their faith should inspire us to stand our ground and be committed to our different vocations. Commitment to our vocations will produce good results which will in turn positively contribute to the development of our country. The Uganda Martyrs in the sacrifice of their lives clearly demonstrates to us a commitment to life’s values and true, uncompromising faith in God. That is the message which will be alive to all generations and especially to us who are living today. Though they died a painful death we celebrate their sacrifice.

Uganda last year celebrated her Golden Jubilee and through prayer we re-dedicated this country back to God. I want to give you an assurance that Uganda is a free country where freedom of worship is a right that is enjoyed by all. Freedom of worship is enshrined in our National constitution of (1995). Religious leaders are commended for the great work and commitment in guiding citizens to enjoy this right. I would like to salute the contribution of the church in the last 135 years since the Christian Missionaries came to Uganda in 1877 (the CMS) and 1879 (the Roman Catholics). The Christians have not only grown in numbers but the churches have also contributed in both spiritual and development fields. The church in Uganda is commended for the reliable partnership with Government especially in the area of human development.

Government is grateful for this partnership in all the schools and education institutions, Health centers as well as economic development projects and charitable organizations rooted on the foundation of the church. This contribution has gone a long way in uplifting the standard of living of many Ugandans. Furthermore, Government applauds the church for the invaluable work of promoting morality among citizens. We thank the church so much for social support systems – that supplement the work of Government. It is in this era, that Africa is faced with immoral invasions which are not originally African, but, are proclaimed as human rights universal to all humanity.

Such influences like homosexuality, drug abuse etc. are not only threats to the church and state, but the future of humanity in general. I wish to take this opportunity to thank religious leaders in Uganda, who have stood firm – inline with Uganda Martyrs and vehemently rejected such foreign deviations. Parents are urged not to shy away from the duty of openly informing our children about such evils that threaten to derail our social values.

However, children learn better while picking from good examples portrayed by their parents. It is therefore imperative for parents to reject such evils, and, other kinds of reckless behavior like drunkenness, violence, laziness, gender discrimination etc. The Government of Uganda will continue supporting the work of the church and all faith based institutions for development of the country. This is because by so doing, we are supporting the people of Uganda. Our resolve to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, diseases, hunger, general backwardness, and maintain peace, security and modernization will never waver.