Pope John Paul II makes a Pilgrimage to Namugongo Martyrs Shrine – 1993
After Pope Paul VI, the second Pope that has visited Uganda is Pope John Paul II. He visited Uganda and spent 6 days in the country. The first non-Italian Pope from Poland, Pope John Paul II (now a Saint) visited Uganda at the invitation of the Uganda Episcopal Conference, from February 5 – 10, 1993. Like Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II made a pilgrimage to Namugongo Martyrs Shrine to honor the Uganda Martyrs.
During the trip, he celebrated mass with extremely large crowds in Gulu, Soroti, Kasese and Namugongo, on top of meeting the youth at Nakivubo Stadium in the heart of Kampala. During the visit, the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine Namugongo was elevated to the rank of a Minor Basilica. On 7th February 1993, during the homily at Namugongo shrine, he said “Truly the Uganda Martyrs became light in the Lord! Their sacrifice hastened the rebirth of the Church in Africa. In our own days, all Africa is being called to the light of Christ! Africa is being called again to discover her true identity in the light of faith in the Son of God”. And he had a loud applause.