Namugongo Martyrs Basilica

From far, the eyes cannot fail to catch the sight of a whitich pinnacle towering the normally blue sky. As one approaches, one is gripped by that special feel of a godly environment, with a heroic atmosphere of the Martyrs’ given by the imposing giant structure of a shrine. This is Namugongo where now people flock daily in tens and thousands to honour and pray to God through the intercession of the twenty two Uganda Martyrs.

Lying 15 kilometres east of the city centre off Jinja Road, Namugongo was formally a place of execution of all people who committed grave offenses in the kingdom of Buganda. It is here that most of the 22 Catholic Uganda Martyrs and 23 Anglican Martyrs, offered their life to Christ, on the orders of King Mwanga in 1886. These are the names of the Catholic and Anglican Martyrs.

Canonized Catholic Martyrs

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Protestant Martyrs

As evidenced above most of the Ugandan martyrs were martyred at Namugongo. In commemoration of that, the big imposing Shrine was built at the very spot where St. Charles Lwanga was burnt alive. St. Charles Lwanga was the head of both the Catholic and Protestant pages at the Kabaka Mwanga’s Palace after the martyrdom of St. Joseph Balikuddembe.

Following the holocaust of these Martyrs’ which reached a climax on 3rd June, 1886 Namugongo has steadily taken on the image of attraction as a place of pilgrimage, as God simultaneously has honoured them before men.

It was on 6th June 1920 that Pope Benedict XV Beatified these Uganda Martyrs’. Pope Paul VI canonised them on Mission Sunday, October 18th, 1964 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The same Pope honoured the Martyrs, with a pilgrimage on 31st July to 2nd August 1969 – the first visit ever by a pope to the African Continent.

Pope Paul VI in Uganda
The Faithful attending the Martyrs' day celebrations

Munyonyo Martyrs Basilica

As evidenced above most of the Ugandan martyrs were martyred at Namugongo. In commemoration of that, the big imposing Shrine was built at the very spot where St. Charles Lwanga was burnt alive. St. Charles Lwanga was the head of both the Catholic and Protestant pages at the Kabaka Mwanga’s Palace after the martyrdom of St. Joseph Balikuddembe.

Following the holocaust of these Martyrs’ which reached a climax on 3rd June, 1886 Namugongo has steadily taken on the image of attraction as a place of pilgrimage, as God simultaneously has honoured them before men.

It was on 6th June 1920 that Pope Benedict XV Beatified these Uganda Martyrs’. Pope Paul VI canonised them on Mission Sunday, October 18th, 1964 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome. The same Pope honoured the Martyrs, with a pilgrimage on 31st July to 2nd August 1969 – the first visit ever by a pope to the African Continent.

Cardinal Sarah Officiates at the elevation of Munyonyo Church to Minor Basilica
Cardinal Sarah Officiates at the elevation of Munyonyo Church to Minor Basilica
Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine
Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine