Angola: The Shrine of Our Lady of Muxima will have a new Basilica in three years.

Angolan President, João Manuel Gonçalves, lays the foundation stone for the new Basilica of Our Lady of Conception of Muxima.

Ribeiro André – Angola and Vatican News Africa Service.

Recently, Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço inaugurated the construction of the new Basilica of the Shrine of Our Lady of Conception of Muxima. It is said when built, the Basilica will be the largest centre for Marian devotion in sub-Saharan Africa.

An important religious landmark

The Shrine of Our Lady of Muxima, 130 kilometres from Luanda, is located South of the Kwanza River, in the village of Muxima, Municipality of Quiçama, Luanda Province, under the Diocese of Viana.

The act of laying the first stone for the construction of the Basilica was done by Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço in the presence of Church, traditional and civic authorities. Also officiating at the inaugural ceremony was the Archbishop Emeritus of Luanda, Alexandre Cardinal do Nascimento. Many of Angola’s Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio attended the historic event.

The Republican president said that the Basilica would be an important religious landmark in Angola that will boost religious tourism when complete. Three years is the time frame for concluding the works of the future Basilica.

Around the Basilica will be constructed a parking lot for more than one thousand cars, a social and medical centre, an administration block and a school, among other amenities.

Government commits to the construction

The Archbishop of Saurimo, Jose Manuel Imbamba, who is President of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and Sao Tomé (CEAST), assured that the building of the Basilica first discussed during Pope Saint John Paul II’s visit to Angola in 1992 was finally taking off.

The Angolan Government committed to meeting the costs for the building.

Mama Muxima Shrine: From the year 1589

The Shrine is considered by many to be the most popular place of pilgrim and worship in Angola. Every year, the Shrine attracts local and foreign pilgrims. In the local Kimbundu language, “Muxima” means heart. The name was given to the Shrine due to its prime location in the middle (heart) of the province.