Renovation of Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine Starts

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Namugongo Martyrs Renovation

The Uganda Martyrs’ Shrines have been closed for intensive renovation ahead of Pope Francis’ visit on November 27-29 this year. Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga handed over the site to Roko Construction on Friday 17th July, after touring the premises.

He said that as the Catholic Church celebrates 50 years since Pope Paul VI canonized and declared the 22 Catholic Martyrs saints at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome on October 18, 1964, they have come out with numerous plans to redevelop the shrines at Namugongo. They intend to renovate most of the present structures and construct new ones.

Lwanga said that they launched the drive under the initiative dubbed “Olumuli lw’Abajulizi”.

He invited all Christians and well-wishers to contribute generously, at least sh1000 each every month towards this noble cause.

“The Church is scheduled to redevelop most of the structures and construct new ones, including relocating the open-air pavilion that houses the altar that will be raised at the extreme end of the man-made lake to enable pilgrims have a better view of what is going on during functions,” he said.

He noted that the entire man-made lake will first be drained before reconstructing its basin and filling it with clean water.

He said that with the reconstruction of modern VIP pavilions, Christians will be able to view the main celebrant at the altar wherever they will be seated.

A museum will be contructed and stocked with Uganda Martyrs paraphernalia as well as a grotto for each of the martyrs.

Two dormitories will also be constructed for pilgrims, one for women and another for men; each to accommodate a reasonable number.

The facility will be complete with washrooms as well as a modern restaurant. The public toilets will also be refurbished, to many Ugandans who are selling cultural tours in Uganda this is a great boom to the tourism sector and believers as this a place which honor the modern saints and this was blessed by Pope Paul VI who became the first reigning pope to visit sub-saharan Africa.

When he visited Uganda in July 1969; a visit which included a pilgrimage to the site of the martyrdom at Namugongo. He made sure to dedicated a site for the building of a shrine church in honor of the martyrs, this was further blessed by Pope John Paul II who also in turn honored the martyrs with his own pilgrimage in February 1993. Every year, June 3rd, when most of the martyrs were killed under the orders of one of Buganda’s famous kings called Mwanga, is marked as a national holiday in Uganda. It is also marked worldwide on the church calendar as a day to honor the Uganda Martyrs.

To many observers and analysts, this was the spark that ignited Christianity in Uganda Rather than deter it, As has been observed in many other instances, the blood of the martyrs proved to be the seed of faith and became the dominate religion in Bugnada and Uganda as a whole and it spread to the entire world as the 22 Catholic martyrs were canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964; during the Vatican II conference.

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