Christians and well-wishers contributed money towards the development of St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Shrine into a Spiritual and Religious Tourism Centre which will be globally recognized. The multibillion project in Masaka Diocese has started to take shape with construction of residential homes for priests and planting of flower gardens completed.
On Sunday 26th March 2023, about 143 bags of cement and Shs22.9 million in pledges and cash was raised for construction of a perimeter wall around the seven-acre site, during the diocesan men’s day celebrations. According to James Balikuddembe, the chairperson of Birinzi Redevelopment Committee, the work done so far is impressive and they are committed to complete the project by July 2025.
“We have launched different campaigns which have helped us raise funds that have enabled us to erect all the new structures on the ground,’’ he added.
According to him, the host diocese has also secured a land title for the site to protect the land from encroachers.
“Our emphasis now is fencing our land to guard it from encroachers but since part of the land is in a low-lying area, it is going to require a lot of materials,’’ He observed.
Birinzi is the birthplace of Ugandan martyr St Charles Lwanga, commonly known as Kaloli Lwanga. The site is located about 23 kilometres outside Masaka City and is surrounded by different indigenous tree species which have been preserved for ages. The trees form a natural forest situated on the piece of land that formerly belonged to Lwanga’s parents, the late Kaddu Mabingo and Gwokyaya, who were known for their African traditional beliefs.
Before their demise, the couple had preserved a giant Mvule tree, which they used for traditional worship. Unfortunately, the tree collapsed in 2004 and part of it was used to make Lwanga’s sculpture, which hangs in Kitovu Cathedral, the seat of the diocese.
When fully redeveloped, it will be the second of its kind after the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) ratified the birthplace of another Ugandan martyr, St Kizito, at Kigwe Village in Waluleta Parish, Makulubita Sub County, Luweero District
Early this year, Masaka Diocese also unveiled a plan to redevelop Bugoma Catholic Site into a tourism site. The site on Buggala main island, Kalangala District is where Fr. Simeon Lourdel Pere and Brother Amans Delmas (Amansi) made a stopover before arriving at Kigungu Landing Site in Entebbe on February 17, 1879.