Their Story

Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa were two young catechists that belonged to the Acholi tribe, a subdivision of the Luo group that was and remains present in Northern Uganda. They lived and were martyred in the years following the founding of the mission of Kitgum by the Combini Missionaries in 1915.

The Archdiocese of Gulu has been honored to have two of its martyrs, Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa, recognized and honored in the Church as Blessed. Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa are the first fruits of the spreading of the Gospel by the Comboni Missionaries in Northern Uganda.

These two young catechists were remarkable because, having just received Baptism and Confirmation, they realized that to be a Christian means to share one’s faith, even at the cost of life itself, should this become necessary. So they started at once to work as catechists and carried on until they shed their blood.

People who opposed the new religion took advantage of socio-political unrest to stop the preaching of the Gospel in Paimol. The two catechists were hounded, threatened, ordered to give up their activities, and finally speared to death. It was the week end of 18th – 20th October 1918.

The name of the place where they were killed, originally known as Palamuku was changed to Wi Polo (‘in heaven’) in accordance with the prayer of the ‘Our Father’ which Daudi and Jildo had been teaching” (Archdiocese of Gulu). Daudi and Jildo continue to be celebrated by the Acholi people for their fervent faith; their apostolic zeal; and their embodiment of responsibility, freedom, truth & justice, and pardon & reconciliation.

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