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Anglican Site Gets Facelift Ahead of Martyr's Day :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Anglican Site Gets Facelift Ahead of Martyr's Day

The newly erected structure will provide shade for 1,000 individuals, supplementing the existing amphitheater that can accommodate 20,000 people whose major construction works and fittings were completed last year.
09 May 2024 13:34
Construction works at the site
The mid-western cluster spearheading this year's Martyrs Day celebrations at the Anglican site has revamped the area, installing covered shelters and seats to accommodate pilgrims.

Jackson Lubowa, Bishop Emeritus of the Central Buganda Diocese and Chairperson of the Namugongo Site Development Committee, said that when the cluster was selected, they presented him with a proposal to establish a lasting legacy at the sacred site.

"We embraced the idea, and they specifically suggested roofing one of the open sitting areas that had remained exposed during the initial phase of construction," Lubowa explained. He further noted that the project was budgeted at 450 million shillings. 

The newly erected structure will provide shade for 1,000 individuals, supplementing the existing amphitheater that can accommodate 20,000 people whose major construction works and fittings were completed last year.

On Wednesday, six bishops representing the dioceses forming the Midwest Cluster gathered at Namugongo to oversee the ongoing works. They expressed their satisfaction with the progress, noting that the contractor had nearly completed the site's preparations for pilgrims even before receiving payment. 

The six dioceses that form the cluster include Ruwenzori Diocese, West Ruwenzori, East Ruwenzori, South Ruwenzori, Bunyoro Kitara, and Masindi Kitara.

During the visit, Engineer Enock Rukondo, the Administrator/Supervisor of the Anglican Martyrs site project, reported that the construction has progressed according to schedule and is anticipated to be finished within a week. 

“We said that these works will be done by mid-May and that’s it. The pilgrim will find the place ready to be used,” said Engineer Rukondo. 

The vision to develop the historical site was outlined in 2013 by the late Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo, former Archbishop of the Church of Uganda. This ambitious plan aimed to establish various facilities including a museum, a modern library, a conference hall, a community church, an amphitheater, and a multipurpose complex also featuring a hotel, a children’s center, and parking facilities. 

The museum, which narrates the harrowing story of the Anglican and Catholic martyrs who were martyred by burning, was the first structure to be erected. In 2015, it was officially opened, coinciding with the visit of Pope Francis to Uganda. 

Around 2021, the construction of the amphitheater and church project commenced, with the former being completed last year, and funded by the greater Ankole Cluster. 

However, Engineer Rukondo mentioned that progress on the church has slowed down due to insufficient funds. Nevertheless, they anticipate that it will be completed by the end of this year and the construction of the grand multipurpose tower will begin. 

Rukondo expressed his approval of the idea of martyrs organizing dioceses to undertake development projects at the site. He emphasized that such initiatives would accelerate the overall development process.

"If each organizing diocese or cluster takes on projects of this scale," he remarked, "the site will undergo a remarkable transformation, boasting improved infrastructure to provide a superior experience for pilgrims, tourists, and other visitors."

Bishop Matovu emphasized that there are numerous areas they aim to roof to enhance shelter for pilgrims during Martyrs Day celebrations, reducing disruptions caused by rain and intense sunshine. 

Over the years, the site has lacked adequate shelter, leaving pilgrims exposed to harsh weather conditions such as rain and scorching sun as they gather to commemorate the young converts who were martyred at this location. 

Meanwhile, the Midwest Cluster, under the leadership of Rt Rev Reuben Kisembo, Cluster Chairman and Bishop of Ruwenzori Diocese, reported that preparations for Martyrs Day and related events are progressing well. 

Speaking on behalf of his fellow bishops, Kisembo mentioned that they have allocated a budget of 2.17 billion shillings for the undertaking. He added that the government has pledged to contribute 1.5 billion shillings, leaving the cluster with the task of securing slightly over 600 million shillings. 

“We already have 100 million in cash, and we plan to utilize some of it to cover expenses such as choir uniforms while we await the government's pledge fulfillment. However, we remain optimistic that we will secure all the required funds before the event," he explained.

He indicated that the budget will cover various expenses including the souvenir project, security measures, meals and beverages, transportation for personnel involved in the day's program, event management, and communication, among other items. 

As per the program schedule, organizers anticipate a series of pre-event engagements, commencing on May 23 with activities tailored for children, followed by events for youth on the 24th. Subsequently, there will be services dedicated to the men and fathers’ union on the 29th, and for the women and mothers’ union on the 30th all rotating on the theme; "Conforming to the Truth of God’s word and not the patterns of the world

Organizers at the Anglican site anticipate the presence of the President of Uganda as the chief guest. The preacher for the day will be The Most Rev Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.