Pope Paul VI’s Visit to Namugongo, 2nd August 1969
Pope Paul VI with the Late Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga in a convoy to Namugongo

Pope Paul VI’s Visit to Namugongo, 2nd August 1969

During the 1967 Synode of Bishops in Rome, Archbishop Nsubuga had formerly invited Paul VI to come to Uganda and visit the site of the martyrdom of the 22 Ugandan martyrs he had declared saints in 1964. The Holy Father accepted in Principal but it was only in 1969 that the visit to Uganda was officially announced.

On 19th March 1969 having cerebrated mass in honour of St. Joseph, Pope Paul VI addressed the Pilgrims in Rome in various languages and then declared ”we have often been earnestly invited by numerous Bishops and faithful to pay a special visit to Africa, more precisely to Uganda where work is progressing on a new shrine where an Alter has been erected in honour of the African martyrs whom we had the privilege of canonizing. It is desired that we preside over the consecration of that Alter at a ceremony to be attended by other African Bishops and faithful whose response to their Christian vocation is well known. We have accepted the invitation, we shall go to Kampala, Uganda’s capital, with the kind agreement of the civil authorities and with the intent to deeply desired on our part of meeting a number of Bishops of African continent already convoked for their meeting there. We shall have in our heart the spiritual and civic destiny for all Africa.

Pope Paul Vi in Uganda 1969
Pope Paul VI in Uganda 1969

Uganda was the first African Nation the Roman Pontiff to visit. It was the 31 st of July 1969 in the aftermath of the 2nd Vatican council. Pope Paul VI was welcomed at Entebbe International Airport where he greeted the people of Africa and Ugandan.

The Holy Father then celebrated mass in Kampala (at the conclusion of the Symposium organized by the Bishops of Africa) before meeting with the President Apollo Milton Obote on Friday 1 st August, he began with the Episcopal ordination of 12 Bishops in Kololo, Pope Paul VI then met with the
members of Parliament of Uganda, the Diplomatic corps, the faithful in the Parish of N sambya, the sick in the Hospital of Mulago, the faithful of the Village of Mengo, those at the center for Human Promotion, the sick in the Hospital of Lubaga, members of Catholic Action and other Catholic

Associations of Uganda, members of the Catholic Church in Uganda and finally with dignitaries and representatives of Islam. On his final day of pilgrimage, Pope Paul VI visited the shrine of Namugongo, met with members of Anglican Church of Uganda and then the civil and religious authorities of Kampala before giving the final address to the faithful of Uganda in the Cathedral of Lubaga ahead of the farewell ceremony.

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