Uganda Martyrs, one of the first catholic missions in Gokwe Diocese celebrated its 50th anniversary on 10 October 2020. The Mission that was founded in 1970 was supposed to celebrate its anniversary on the feast of the Uganda Martyrs in June but had to delay the event due to COVID-19. However, 10 October saw priests, religious and the laity, led by Bishop Rudolf Nyandoro and Bishop Emeritus Angelo Floro coming together in commemoration of this important day in the history of Gokwe Diocese.
Uganda Martyrs Mission was founded by the late Bishop Ignatio Prieto in 1970. The mission was by then a centre meant to cater for the people who had come to settle in Gokwe.
According to Mr. Tichapondwa, the only missions then were Kana, Chireya and Nembudziya. Gokwe centre was being served by Chireya which was too far. Tichapondwa said in the late 1960s a lot of people from Chirumhanzu settled around Gokwe centre and this necessitated the establishment of a mission nearby to serve these people.
The commemoration of the anniversary is usually held in June but due to COVID-19 restrictions it was deferred to a later date resulting in the celebration taking place on 10 October 2020.
Bishop Nyandoro thanked the Spanish Missionary Institute for the great work they did in building Gokwe Diocese to be what it is today. He also acknowledged that a lot of priests and religious were borne out of Uganda Martyrs Mission while missions such as TONGWE, Manyoni, St John’s, Gwanyika and Mai veRugare also emerged from the same. Uganda can be described as a fountain of Catholicism from where the Catholic faith spread in all directions in Gokwe Diocese since it is one of the first centres of Catholic faith.