ildo Irwa’s origin, baptism and death
Irwa Jildo was born in about 1902. He was a son of Tongpfur Daniele and Atoo of Labongo Bar- Kitoba, another clan of the Acholi people also dwelling in the Kitgum area. Irwa was baptized Jildo (short for “Ermenegildo”) on 6th June 1916 and also received Confirmation on 15th October 1916. He was slightly younger than Daudi Okello.
Jildo’s godfather was one Pasquale Omara of Gulu and at Confirmation he was sponsored by Yoannes Baptista Oye one of the first Christians in Kitgum.
Irwa Jildo and Daudi Okello had undergone the two-years religious instructions for initiation into Christianity.
From Baptism to the Mission
The mission station of Kitgum which had been established in 1915 experienced very hard and difficult times culminating into unrest among the population. This was mainly due to the “Spanish Fever” epidemic that claimed lives of many people; the spread of a form of syphilis (called nyac abac by the Acholi), believed to have been imported by Arab traders; the 1916 famine which had recently caused the death of Antonio the Catechist of Paimol; the proliferation of guns in the area. Despite all these difficulties which they were well aware of, Daudi Okello and Jildo Irwa took their Christian mission seriously and with determination. Having completed their probation year as devout Christians in October 1917, Daudi and Jildo felt they were ready to embark on an evangelizing mission to other people. So they took on the task.
Irwa Jildo was killed at Paimol Kalongo, Northern Uganda on 18th October 1918 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 20th October 2002.