Father Michel Ménard, President of the EMI, visited Africa in January 2018. Accompanied by Brother Vignau (Secretary General of IMS) and Mr Sacheli (IMS operations manager), he took part in the activities of the 50th anniversary of the IMS.
Founded in 1965, the Mutual Assistance Association, in 1967 set up its first two sections in Africa (West Africa section in Abidjan; Central Africa section in Yaoundé).
In Yaoundé, the IMS section operates thanks to the efforts of the Province of the Spiritans and more precisely the person in charge, Father Albert Assamba, supported in the everyday IMS mission by Sister Charo and Sister Marie-Anne.
A hundred communities were present on 19 and 20 January (superiors, bursars, etc. from Cameroon, Gabon, DRC, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, CAR, Kenya) to attend the masses, presentations and listen to the speakers. All the activities went very smoothly and were supplemented by meetings between the President Ménard, 1st Secretary of the Apostolic Nuncio and the Conference of Bishops, and by the visit of hospitals (Le Jordan, Saint Martin de Pores).
In his homily, Father Assamba recalled the gospel of the day, about illness, attention and care: “Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told Jesus about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.”
The Father continued thus : “the patient may be the countries in which there is not yet a social security system, and where the IMS appears as Jesus, who helps the bishops and superiors to fulfil their canonical obligation to take care of the health of missionaries and members of the clergy. The patient is also the man or woman of the church or the priest. Jesus represents the IMS who goes to them, takes them by the hand, helps the pastoral worker to get up and to restore their health so they can continue to serve. Because health is our primary physical asset. It is health which allows priests and men and women of the church to fulfil the mission that God has entrusted them with”.