Faith of Africa: Uganda & Rwanda – June 2018

Fr S’milo Mngadi • 30 May – 7 June 2018

Join Fr S’milo Mngadi on this very special pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Uganda Martyrs on the feast of Charles Lwanga & companions, and to the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho in Rwanda.

Wednesday, May 30
Having met at OR Tambo International in Johannesburg for our flight to Rwanda, we arrive early in the morning the capital Kigali, said to be one of the world’s cleanest cities, where we are met by our guide. Rwanda is one of the few countries in which the majority of people are Catholics. We have Mass and visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial, which commemorates the awful events of April 1994 when half a million people were killed in ethnic violence. Some 250,000 genocide victims are buried there. Here we learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide and about other genocides in the world that sound a warning for the future, and how Rwanda has dealt with its past.

Thursday, May 31
We visit Sainte-Famille Church (Holy Family Catholic Church) in Kiyovu, Kigali. Located on a hill, it’s close to the commercial district of Ruhenge. Sainte-Famille Church was the scene of killings during the genocide in April 1994.

In the afternoon we proceed to Kibeho where Our Lady appeared to several young people in the 1980s. The apparitions, which began on 28 November 1981, communicated various messages to them, including an apocalyptic vision of Rwanda descending into violence and hatred, foretelling the 1994 genocide. The Virgin appeared to the group with the name “Nyina wa Jambo” (“Mother of the Word”). One of the young visionaries, Marie Claire, was murdered in the genocide.

Kibeho has become a place of apparitions and pilgrimage. As Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro declared when he approved devotion to the apparitions of Alphonsine, Nathalie and Marie Claire, Kibeho is a place of prayer for God-seekers who come to ask for the grace of conversion, to offer their intentions in reparation of the sins of the world, and to promote reconciliation between individuals, communities or nations. Kibeho is becoming a rallying point for “those who were dispersed”, as well as for those who live the values of compassion and brotherhood without limits. The best known “apostle” of Our Lady of Kibeho is Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Rwandan Catholic who survived the genocide by hiding in a pastor’s bathroom for three months.

Sites in Rwanda: Kigali Genocide Memorial, Marian Shrine of Kibeho, and Our Lady of Kibeho

Friday, June 1
Today we explore the Shrine of Our Lady of Kibeho with the Apparition Square, the Statue of Our Lady of Kibeho, the Esplanade of the Shrine, the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament and the source of Mary’s Spring, which appeared out of nowhere during Our Lady’s visitations, in an area where there is very little water.

We then visit Ruhango, one of Rwanda’s miracle centres. Many miraculous events have been reported from Ruhango, a place for the Holy Sacrament which attracts pilgrims from around the world. We then return to Kigali for our short flight to Uganda where we land in the evening.

Saturday, June 2
In Entebbe we visit Kigungu parish where the “White Fathers” (Missionaries of Africa) Fr Lourdel Mapeera and Br Amans Smith first landed in 1879. We then proceed to the Munyonyo Resort for lunch with an option of a boat ride along Lake Victoria (cost is not included). We return to our hotel early to relax and prepare for our busy day tomorrow.

Sites in Uganfda: Kigungu, Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, Rubaga Cathedral

Sunday, June 3
Today is the big day: We wake up early in the morning and head to the national Namugongo Martyrs Shrine to attend the annual celebrations of the feast of the St Charles Lwanga and the Martyrs of Uganda. The martyrs were converts executed on the orders of King Mwanga II from 1885-87. The various celebrations and activities during the feast day will take up the full day.

Monday, June 4
After breakfast we set off for Munyonyo Martyrs Shrine, the place where the persecution of the first martyrs took place in Mwanga’s palace. We then proceed to Rubaga Cathedral, the headquarters of the Catholic faith in Uganda. Here we learn about the history of the Church in the country, and also see the unique architecture in this place. During lunch at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel we can view Lake Kabakas. We then visit Namirembe Cathedral, Uganda’s Protestant headquarters.

Tuesday, June 5
In the morning we visit St Matia Mulumba Church, where Uganda martyr St Matia was killed. We then proceed to St Balikuddembe Shrine, another place of martyrdom. At St Athananuis Church, also a martyr’s place, we can get holy water. We visit the Bahai Temple, the only temple of its kind in the all of Africa, enjoying the striking architecture and the history. At dinner we will have the memorable experience of Ndele cultural dances and performances.

Wednesday, June 6
Today we return to the national Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine, where most of the 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts were martyred. We visit the Basilica of Namugongo, get holy water, visit the martyrs museum, and visit the place where Mukajanga, the chief executioner, stayed and much more. In the evening we return to Entebbe airport to begin our journey home.

Thursday, June 7
We arrive home in Johannesburg, our bags full of souvenirs and our spirit filled with the Faith of Africa.

Est. price:  R31,915 (incl. airport taxes ex-JHB; subject to currency and price fluctuations, minimum 21 travelling. Calculated at R14,74 to the dollar)

Includes: All flights ex-Johannesburg (incl. airport taxes), accommodation in luxury hotels (sharing) with breakfast and dinner, lunches on most days in selected restaurants, transfers, travel on air-conditioned luxury buses or safari 4x4s, English-speaking tour guide, entrance fees.

Excludes: Tips (these are set and mandatory), visas, insurance (we can arrange for you), personal expenses, travel to and from O.R. Tambo Airport/Jhb.

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