Black Saints: Charles Lwanga

{{en|Saint en:Charles Lwanga (in the center) and his 21 followers in a picture from Albert Wider from the year 1962.}} [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This article appears in the Black Saints feature series. View the full series.

Nov. 21 Saint Charles Lwanga

Did you know Catholics from Africa led the way in being witnesses for Christ in the face of grave persecutions?

Saint Charles Lwanga was one of the 22 Ugandan martyrs who converted from paganism. 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 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. He and his companions were burned to death by Mwanga’s order on June 3, 1886. Pope Paul VI canonized Charles Lwanga and his companions on June 22, 1964. We celebrate his memorial on June 3 of the Roman calendar. Charles is he Patron of the African Youth of Catholic Action.

This is copyrighted material, used with the permission of the Archdiocese of Washington, Office of Black Catholics.

More about Black Catholic history

We need you! Support independent Catholic journalism. Become an NCR Forward member for $5 a month.

Blacks in Catholic Christianity have a long and vibrant history.

Much of that history is generally unknown to Black Catholics as well as to the rest of the faithful. On July 24, 1990, the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month to celebrate this long history and proud heritage of Black Catholics. During this month we celebrate the presence of our ancestors who kept the faith and are models of living the Gospel life.

November is Black Catholic History Month.

Sign up for our daily Black Catholic Saints email during the month of November to learn more about these holy men and women.


Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here

Advertisement