Inside proposed Kibeho Basilica

An artistic impression of the proposed Kibeho basilica in Nyaruguru District. Photo: Courtesy.

Kibeho pilgrimage site in Nyaruguru district is expected to get a new basilica with a seating capacity of 10,000 and a compound with capacity to accommodate up to 100,000 pilgrims.

Feasibility studies and designs of the facility have been completed and the construction is planned to be completed before the end of 2021.  It will last between 18 and 24 months at a cost of between $50 and $70 million.


Francois Habitegeko, the Mayor of Nyaruguru, said that they expect the proposed basilica to be completed when the holy site marks its 40th anniversary of apparitions at Kibeho.


Kibeho Holy land receives between 500,000 and 600,000 pilgrims every year.


The basilica is envisioned to be a modern worship complex containing principally a 10,000 -seat church, with a 1,000-seat Chapel of (Chapel of Seven Sorrows of Mary), a parking lot for 700 buses and 2,000 smaller cars, and several other service unit spaces.

According to the “Our Lady of Kibeho Basilica Foundation” that is raising resources to fund the construction, the move is “in line with a request by the Mother of the Word to construct two Chapels- a big one and a small one in the honor of the messages she gave to the world.”

It is believed the Virgin Mary (the Mother of Jesus Christ), through apparitions “gave the measurements” of those two Chapels and even indicated the location where she wanted them built.

Pope Paul II, the then head of the Roman Catholic Church, officially recognized the apparitions of Holy Mary in 2001, declaring Kibeho a holy land on which the basilica will be constructed.

The New Times has compiled information enlightening the readers about what is a basilica, its characteristics and the number of Basilicas in Rwanda, Africa and the World in General.

What is a basilica?

A Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church with certain privileges conferred on it by the Pope.

It is considered as a large and important place of worship that has been given special ceremonial rights by the Pope.

Other Basilicas

According to the website, there are four major Basilicas worldwide, all of which are located in Rome and 1,810 minor basilicas scattered in the world as of June 2019.

There are 1,331 basilicas in Europe, 390 basilicas on the American continent, 63 in Asia, seven in Oceania and 23 basilicas in Africa.

Currently, Rwanda has only one minor basilica in Kabgayi, ‘Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady’ with a capacity to accommodate 3,000 people.

In Africa, the countries with many basilicas are Ghana with four, Uganda with three, Algeria with two, and Egypt with also two basilicas.

The largest basilica in Africa is Yamoussoukro Basilica in Cote d’Ivoire, which has the capacity to hold 18,000 worshippers, while the esplanade can accommodate a crowd of 300,000.

In Europe, countries with most basilicas include Italy with 576, France with 173, Poland with 154, and Spain with 124 Basilicas.

All of the four major basilicas worldwide are located in Rome.

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