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Shrines and pilgrimage important to Catholic life in Uganda

  • In prayer before a statue of Our Lady at Our Lady Queen of Peace Kiwamirembe Shrine, near Kampala, Uganda.
  • Grotto outside Christ the King Church, central Kampala, Uganda.
  • Worshippers of the grounds of Our Lady Queen of Peace Kiwamirembe Shrine, near Kampala, Uganda.
  • Legion of Mary members near the stations of the cross at Our Lady Queen of Peace Kiwamirembe Shrine.
  • Certificate for pilgrims at Uganda Martyrs' Shrine.
  • The chapel at the Uganda Martyrs' Shrine.
  • Classroom drawing at St. Claver School outside Kampala, Uganda.

Shrines and pilgrimage play an important role in Ugandan Catholic life. Major shrines like the Shrine of the Ugandan Martyrs at Numugongo, the Mount Sion Bukalongo Shrine, and Our Lady Queen of Peace Kiwamirembe Shrine draw large crowds. The annual pilgrimage to the Ugandan Martyrs Shrine for the June 3 feast is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, drawing pilgrims from Uganda and other East African countries.

Shrines are central to worship in the traditional, pre-Christian religions of Uganda. The word "shrine," when used in terms of traditional religion in Uganda, describes two important places of worship: the household, and hilltop shrines to traditional deities that still endure, though usually in hiding or under cover of darkness. 

Our Lady Queen of Peace Kiwamirembe Shrine, like some parishes, is located atop a hill, supplanting a site where earlier forms of worship took place. 

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Footnotes