Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo: All you need to Know
The Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo is among the best and largest Christian pilgrimage destinations in Africa, drawing many travellers not only from Africa but all over the world to undertake faith-based safaris to Uganda especially on 3rd June every year. Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo is dedicated to the 32 Martyrs of Uganda who were martyred between 1885 and 1887 on the orders of the king of Buganda for refusal to denounce their newly found faith-Christianity.
The martyrs buried here shed their blood under the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II for the Christian faith that they refused to denounce.
Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo’s grandeur of an ancient Cathedral whose structural design is copied from the African Hut is made up of 22 copper pillars standing over 100 feet long supporting the shrine. The shrine has the capacity to accommodate 1000 people whose seats are organized in a circular form.
History of Uganda Martyrs Shrine Namugongo
Its artwork started in 1967 and was completed in 1975. A lake was dug up in the saints’ honor and has a pavilion or Island in form of a modern boat.
It has a deck-like make on which the altar for Holy Mass is situated and a cabin under the altar bears the Sacristy, a kitchen, and bedroom where Pope Francis shortly occupied when he visited Uganda in 2015.
Annually, 3rd June is the day Uganda commemorates Martyr’s Day and for the past decades, it has not been an ordinary day in the city.
The sun may still rise from the east and water may still be the colourless liquid that quenches thirst; yet the streets, the dwellers, the shops and their keepers will for a day or more live a different version of events because of the masses of people who come to the Shrine on this day.
On this date, Ugandan and non-Ugandan pilgrims make their way to the Uganda Martyrs Shrine in Namugongo.
Masses 2020 at Namugongo
For some pilgrims, the journey is not one travelled by the convenience of a car, but rather walking barefoot for miles to replicate their faith and love for religious tourism.
The pilgrims walk from as far as Kenya, as a sacrifice in honor of the Martyrs. The atmosphere is usually hot and sweaty body upon body and pilgrims walking with visible tiresomeness yet thriving on the spiritual inspiration drawn from these brave young men to whom they come to pay homage. You will not miss the sight of hawkers and vendors selling items ranging from artworks, souvenirs of the martyrs to caps and hats.