Government has pledged to revamp St Adolf Tibeyalirwa Shrine Katoosa in Kyenjojo District.
In the new development, Shs1.5 billion is earmarked in the coming financial year to commence the construction works.
The revelation was made by Tom R. Butime, the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, during the holy pilgrimage celebrations on January 27 at Katoosa Shrine-Kyenjojo in Fort Portal Diocese.
This followed an outcry from the Diocesan leadership over the poor condition of the site that bars potential tourists from abroad from visiting the St Adolf shrine.
In the planned facelift, government will erect a perimeter wall to fence off the site, extend water services to the place, and install an amp theatre to meet the required international standard of tourism sites.
The event was graced by Judith Nabakooba, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, as the Chief guest and pilgrim, who was delegated by the Prime Minister, Hon Robinah Nabbanja.
In her speech, Nabbanja congratulated the faithful upon reaching this day and encouraged them to keep faith in the Uganda martyrs.
“The story of the Uganda martyrs not only continues to strengthen our commitment to the Christian faith but also teaches us to be strong in our faith no matter the circumstances,” she said, urging the believers to emulate St Adolf and all other Uganda martyrs who died for their faith.
“I hope that this pilgrimage has also deepened your connection to St. Adolf Ludigo Tibeyalirwa and the story of the Uganda martyrs, who were killed in the 1880s by the king of Buganda for refusing to denounce their faith. The bold decision taken by St. Adolf Ludigo Tibeyalirwa, and all the Uganda martyrs remains a source of inspiration to many Christians in Uganda and beyond.”
Due to the raging cases of land grabbing in the country, the prime minister cautioned the public against land fragmentation and encouraged collective utilisation of land as a family.
“This practice does not only undermine agricultural production but also results in conflicts in some cases. Instead of fragmenting your land, I ask you to utilise it to establish collective family businesses and share profits. I also advise the young people against selling their land to purchase boda-bodas,” she added.
Nabbanja also re-echoed the president’s message concerning government schools that collect illegal fees from the learners saying, “The collection of illegal charges from learners should stop as this undermines the Government’s free education programme.”
The celebration mass was animated by Mbarara Archbishop Lambert Bainomugisha, who called for faith in the martyrs as they have the spiritual power to intercede for the faith.
“Don’t just trek from wherever you came from but have it in your mind that the martyr will intercede for you, and you will be able to get what you are sacrificing for,” Archbishop Bainomugisha said.
Rev Fr Msgr Isiah Mayombo, the Vicar General of Fort Portal Diocese, represented the host bishop, Fr Robert Muhiirwa, who was not able to participate in this year’s event over ill health.
Msgr Mayombo said the diocese has different chunks of land in nine places and they want the government to help them in registering since they are the trustees on that land.
In response, Minister Nabakooba promised to support churches to register their land and seek consents.
“We shall help you to renew your trustees in case you have taken long to submit returns. We are your humble servants and we are there to serve you. When it comes to churches, we give them a priority to ensure that proper records are done within the ministry,” she said.
Rev Fr Venansio Busobozi, the parish priest of Katoosa catholic parish, said he is so excited for the government pledge and prays they fulfill the promise.
“We are very excited as the diocese as the government plans to refurbish this site because that is what we have been praying for, and we believe it is going to become bigger and a pilgrim’s attraction,” Fr Busobozi said.
This year, Katoosa shrine attracted 131 pilgrims from Congo and years ago, we had pilgrims from Australia.
About St Adolf Tibeyalirwa
This martyr is a born of Katoosa Parish in Kyenjojo district Fort Portal Diocese. He was killed on June 3, 1886 in Namugongo by the Kabaka of Buganda, Mwanga, for his faith.
This made Katoosa to gain momentum and it attracted the whole parish of Butiiti way back in 1984.
At first, Fort Portal Diocese used to gather at Katoosa on June 3 as the rest of the people celebrated in Namugongo and to enable to harmonize the national celebrations, the day was shifted to November, to enable believers from Fort Portal to celebrate with the rest of the believers at Namugongo and later to January 27.
For many years, pilgrims flock Katoosa from many corners of Fort Portal and from the dioceses of Kasese, Hoima, Kiyinda-Mityana, Kampala, Butembo in the DR Congo among others.