This Martyrs’ Shrine is located within Munyonyo, in Kampala (Uganda’s Capital City) and is a Roman Catholic Shrine dedicated to the Uganda Martyrs. Ground breaking for its construction was done in 2015 but by 2016 it was already completed then consecrated in 2017 and the building stands at 47 meters and seats up to 1600 people.
Munyonyo Martyrs’ Shrine is the Martyrdom site where leaders in the Royal Enclave-St, Denis Ssebuggwawo and St. Andrew Kaggwa were killed on 26th May 1886 under the orders of Omukama (King) Mwanga II and were canonized by Pope John Paul VI in 1964. Not only that, the shrine is also the site where St. Charles Lwanga (leader of the Christian Community in Uganda) baptized a number of Christian Coverts-St. Muggaga, St. Kizito, St. Gyavira and St. Mbaga in 1886.
It was at Munyonyo where Omukama Mwanga took the grave decision to start putting Christians to death and the blood of these Martyrs was shed on the soil around Munyonyo with the first three Christians to sacrifice their lives for Christ after the King’s decision on 26th May 1886 being St. Pontiano Ngondwe, St. Denis Ssebuggwawo and St. Andrew Kaggwa. It is at this area that all the King’s Christian pageboys were captured and sentenced to death and the prisoners were ruthlessly bound to each other and made to walk their final journey of life escorted by aggressive and ruthless soldiers.
On the way to Namugongo (at a lonely place by the side of a road in Kyamula, Pontiano was murdered making him the third Ugandan whose love for Christ outshone his personal desire for life. On the very day in Munyonyo, Fr. Symeon Lourdel (Mapeera) was desperately seeking an audience with Kabaka (King) Mwanga so as to intervene for condemned Christians but wasn’t allowed to see the King.
Having started the grave and imminent danger that was about to happen to Uganda’s Christian Community but as night fell on the 25th May 1886, Charles Lwanga, the leader of Uganda’s Christian Community secretly baptized four other catechumens (St. Muggaga, St. Kizito, St. Gyavira and St. Mbaga) at Munyonyo.
From the time Uganda celebrated 50 years (in 2014) since the Uganda Martyrs were canonized and elevated to Sainthood by then Pope-John Paul VI on the 18th October 1964, the Shrine in Munyonyo became a thanksgiving monument for their canonization. The official groundbreaking was on 3rd May 2015 by Papal Nuncio to Uganda and since 2013, the Shrine is administered by a Franciscan religious order of Greyfriars. One important and unforgettable event that happened at the shrine is the visitation of Pope Francis and also the blessing of the cornerstone of the Shrine on 27th November 2015 during the apostolic journey to Africa.
How to Access Munyonyo Martyrs’ Shrine
This spectacular Church is situated within Munyonyo, Kampala in Central Uganda at approximately 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) by road south of the Central Business District of Kampala, Uganda’s Capital and largest City of this East African country. 4×4 Uganda offers cheap car rental in Uganda without driver to allow you explore Kampala and beyond at your own pace.
In conclusion, the Munyonyo martyrs Shrine is one of the faith-based tourist sites in Uganda and normally flooded on 3rd June every year during the Uganda Martyrs day that draws millions of people across Uganda and the neighboring countries of Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.