Organisers of the Uganda Martyrs Day celebration at the Namugongo Catholic Shrine have decried a group of suspected youthful criminals who were illegally collecting offerings from unsuspecting pilgrims.
Although offerings are normally collected during celebration of Eucharist , due to the big number of Christians, the organising committee decided to collect offertories as early as 7:30 am before mass.
However, Mr Alex Mukasa, one of the ushers, says they became suspicious of a group of youth who were collecting money.
“As soon they announced that offerings were to be collected much earlier, small yellow and red bags similar to those normally used by the church, were seen being moved around before the ushers had been cleared to start collecting the money,” Mr Mukasa said.
According to Mr Mukasa, the suspected youth were seated behind the choir bay and near the Basilica.
Upon realising the theft, organisers announced warning pilgrims to halt giving in their offertories.
“We have learnt of some bad people trying to steal from God. They are posing as alms collectors. They are not. Whoever has seen a bag being passed around hold it and alert a security officer nearby,” one of the organisers announced.
The message was translated in several languages.
Mr Max Mugisha, another usher said that two unofficial bags; full of collections were recovered from the congregation.
Organisers then informed the pilgrims to only give their offertories to a section of people in a particular uniform.