MUNYONYO MARTYRS SHRINE MARKS TWO YEARS
It’s Now two years since Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine in Uganda was Officially declared a minor Basilica.
Two years ago on this Day, July 29 2019, Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine in Uganda was officially declared a Minor Basilica. The decree on behalf of Pope Francis was signed by the Former Vatican Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the sacraments, His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah. This was after the Pope’s approval of an application that was presented by the Late Rev. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala to elevate Munyonyo Church to the status of minor Basilica.
Cardinal Sarah commissioned the minor Basilica Officially then during his visit to Uganda for the SECAM Golden Jubilee Celebrations plus 18th plenary Assembly from July 19-29, 2019 held in Kampala.
He commissioned the minor Basilica in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, HE Luigi Bianco, fellow Cardinals, Archbishops, bishops and priests who were in Uganda to attend SECAM Celebrations. The Ceremony was attended by the Former Vice President of Uganda, Edward Ssekandi and other faithful Christians.
In his speech, the Cardinal told the congregation that he hopes the new Basilica would continue to be a favorite place to compliment encounter with adding “it should be a place where Christians experience God’s forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
The Importance of this place can’t be over emphasized in the history of the Catholic Church in Uganda as it was at Munyonyo where King Mwanga of Buganda Kingdom made the fateful decision to begin putting the 45(22catholics) martyrs to death for refusing to denounce their faith. The blood of the Uganda martyrs was first shed on the soil around Munyonyo before embarking to Namugongo final executions where majority of them were killed from. Saints Denis Ssebugwawo and Andrew Kaggwa were beheaded at Munyonyo on May 26,1886.
A minor Basilica is a church granted with special ecclesiastical privileges by the Holy Father. The status is usually given to Churches because of their antiquity, architectural worth, historical value and significance as centres of worship. According to the 1989 Vatican document Domus Ecclesiae, a basilica must stand out as a centre of active and pastoral lirturgy.
Munyonyo is the third place with such a tittle in the country and 23rd on the continent of Africa. The first Basilica tittle in Uganda was granted in 1961 to Blessed Virgin Mary Church- Londonga in Yumbe District, located in Northern Uganda and Uganda Martyrs Namugongo Shrine by St. Pope John Paul II during his Visit to Uganda in 1993. Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine adopted the name Uganda Martyrs Basilica Munyonyo.