Basilica announcement



Vatican has recently approved application presented to the Holy See by the Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga to elevate Munyonyo Church to the status of Minor Basilica. The official announcement is going to be made during solemn Holy Mass on Monday, 29th July 2019 in Munyonyo at 10am by Cardinal Robert Sarah who heads
Congregation of the Sacraments and Divine Worship in Vatican.

A minor basilica is a church granted with special ecclesiastical privileges by the pope. The status is usually given to churches because of their antiquity, historical value, architectural worth and significance as centers of worship.

First basilica title in Uganda was granted to Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Lodonga, Northern Uganda in 1961. During visit of Pope John Paul II in Uganda in 1993, Namugongo Shrine was raised to the rank of Minor Basilica.
Now the new shrine is Munyonyo will be the third with such title in the country and 23rd on the continent of Africa.

Announcement comes at the time when Uganda prepares to host catholic bishops from the continent for the 50th Anniversary of their association “SECAM” 20-29 July 2019 in Munyonyo, Kampala.


WHAT IS A MINOR BASILICA (compiled by Muguluma Gerald)

We all received the news of Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine being declared a Basilica with a lot of joy and jubilation, but when you ask the jubilating people what a basilica is you realize that most of us do not know what it really is.

What is a Basilica ?

It is a significant church that meets certain criteria and is given special ecclesiastical privileges. It is a church building that has been accorded special privileges by the Pope. Because of this designation it enjoys special bond with the Pope.

‘Minor basilicas are traditionally named because of their antiquity, dignity, historical value, architectural and artistic worth, and/or significance as centers of worship. A basilica must “stand out as a center of active and pastoral liturgy,” according to the 1989 Vatican document Domus ecclesiae.’


They are two categories of Basilicas.

  1. Major or papal Basilica, only 4 exists in the world; St. John Lateran, St. Peter, St. Paul outside the Walls and St. Mary Major, they are all found in Rome.
  1. Minor, as of 2019, there were 1,761 churches that bore the title of basilica, Africa has 22 of them.

 In Uganda there are 2 Basilicas one in Namugongo –Uganda Marty’s Basilica Namugongo(1993) and  Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Lodong in Yumbe (1961) and now    Uganda Catholic Church Munyonyo as the third privileged church to be declared on the 29th July 2019. It will adopt the name of Uganda Martys Basilica Munyonyo.

We should note that in the Uganda’s case all these basilicas are associated with the visit of different Popes and the Uganda Marty’s.

What are the requirements for a church to be accorded the title of Basilica?

They are several conditions for a church to be declared a basilica, some of which include but not limited to:

  • Petition by the Local Ordinary-request by the Ordinary to Vatican. (Archbishop of Kampala).
  • Judgment of suitability by the National Episcopal Conference
  • Report concerning the Church in question.
  • Photos of the church both interior and exterior.
  • Special placement of the sanctuary (Ekituukuvu).

What are the responsibilities that come with the declaration?

Promotion of liturgical instructions

Special activities of a Basilica are the study and popularization of documents coming from the Pope and Vatican.

The celebration of the liturgical year is to be prepared and carried out with great care especially the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.

Diligent declaration of the word of God in homilies and sermons.

Active participation of the Faithful; sing together in Latin the Profession of the faith and the Lord’s Prayer.

Fostering of approved devotions

More noble cerebration of the liturgy

The papal symbols (crossed Keys) may be exhibited on banners and/or furnishings and the seal of the Basilica.

The rector of the Basilica may wear over the cassock or habit a black mozetta with red piping, buttons and button holes.

Greatest opportunity for you and me

We should brace up for exemplary liturgical cerebrations for others to emulate, should have appropriate confessors available.

We are also blessed to be among the candidates who may obtain plenary indulgence if we devoutly visit our Basilica and within participate in any sacred rites or at least recite the Lord’s prayer and the  profession of faith under the usual conditions of Sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communication and prayer for the intension of the Pope on special days including;

on the anniversary of the dedication of the same basilica;

on the day of the liturgical celebration of the title;

on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles;

on the anniversary of the granting of the title of basilica;

once a year on a day to be determined by the local Ordinary;

once a year on a day freely chosen by the each of the faithful.

A lot of work has been done behind the curtains by our dear Parish Priest and a team of dedicate persons before reaching this stage of declaration, we wish to thank them for the time well spent.

We thank God through the Uganda Marty’s for the great things that has been bestowed up on our Parish. 

May the holy Martyr’s of Uganda, pray for us.