Uganda’s Minister of Tourism, Rtd Col Tom Butiime has said the East African nation is set to profile all faith-based tourism sites in the Ecclesiastical Province of Mbarara for promotion and development of the sites.
According to Butime, a team from his ministry will be flagged off to traverse the entire province to identify and profile the sites.
“There are many tourist sites which are faith based in the province of Mbarara and I want to assure you that I will put much effort in promoting faith based tourism,” he remarked on Sunday while addressing Christians and Bishops of Mbarara Ecclesiastical Province at Virika Cathedral in Fort Portal, where bishops of the jurisdiction were concluding their visit to Fort Portal Diocese
Mbarara Province has five dioceses of Kabale, Fort Portal, Hoima, Kasese and Mbarara.
Archbishop Bainomugisha had earlier in mass invited believers to the knowledge that the province is endowed with major tourist attractions.
History shows that the province of Mbarara was established in 1934 as a Rwenzori vicariate, covering all districts in Western Uganda. In 1993, the Vatican made Mbarara a province.
According to Archbishop Bainomugisha, the province has preserved some items that were acquired when it was a vicariate.
They include the tomb for the founder of the vicariate of Rwenzori, FrFrancis-Xavier Lacoursiere, who was buried inside the church at Nyamitanga in Mbarara, the chalice and three metallic bottles for holy oil.
He said in 1934, the Pope gave Fr Lacoursiere the chalice when he was becoming the administrator of Rwenzori vicariate.
The province of Mbarara has three Ugandan martyrs’ shrines-St Andrew Kaggwa (Kahawa), St Anatole Kiriggwajjo in Hoima Diocese and St Adolf Mukasa Ludigo in Fort Portal.
Bishop Callistus Rubaramira of Kabale said from January 27, 2023, all the bishops of Mbarara province will join other Christians in Fort Portal Diocese on a pilgrimage to Katoosa in Kyenjojo District in honour of St Adolf Tibeyariirwa who is one of Ugandan martyrs. He said the pilgrimage is one of the ways to promote the shrine and other sites in the province.
The Katoosa Parish Priest, Fr Venasio Busobozi, asked the province of Mbarara to make the Katoosa shrine a provincial annual pilgrimage site.