Ugandan martyr who died to protect children: Joseph Mukasa 1885
During the persecution of Ugandan Christians undertaken by King Mwanga in the late 19th century, Joseph served as head of the king’s page boys. He was a member of the royal family and a convert to Christianity.
Being in control of the pages, Joseph was able to protect the youngsters from the lusts of the pagan king, who was attracted to them. This infuriated King Mwanga, who refused to have his orders to see the boys ignored.
Under the influence of the prime minister, the king had Joseph arrested and on 15 November 1885 he was taken away to be killed. The reason for his martyrdom was twofold: his refusal to allow the king access to the page boys and his role as a leader of the young Christian community.
Ever loving God,
you made the blood of martyrs
the seed of your church in Uganda;
grant that, as you were steadfast in faith
and obedient unto death,
yielding a plentiful harvest,
so may we be encouraged by their example
to witness courageously to your gospel;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
For All the Saints (New Zealand)
Originally published in Heroes of Our Faith by Patrick Sookhdeo (Isaac Publishing)