On Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 3:00 p.m. (Italian time), an online meeting was held for the first time between the Presidents of the Militia of the Immaculata (M.I.) from various French-speaking nations of Africa. The participants represented nations with a lively and dynamic presence of the Militia of the Immaculata. Jean Léonard BALMA and Friar Marek HRYNIEWICKI participated from Burkina Faso. Nicolas KESSE and Elisabeth YOBOUÉ participated from Ivory Coast and Christelle NTSAME and Hervé Essono MEZUI participated from Gabon.
Other participants included the M.I. International President, Miquel Bordas PRÓSZYNSKI; the M.I. International Assistant Friar Gilson Miguel NUNES; the M.I. International Vice-President, Margherita PERCHINELLI and a Missionary of the Immaculata of Brazil, Luis EDOAS, who acted as an interpreter and must be thanked for this service .
After a prayer to the Holy Spirit, the various Presidents reported on the status of the M.I. in their countries.
In Ivory Coast, Coordinator Elisabeth YOBOUÉ has a two-year term and is in charge of the work of the M.I. being done in the various parish groups. There are two working groups. One deals with formation in preparation for consecrating oneself to Mary Immaculate and lasts for eight months. The other is a committee headed by Nicolas KESSE. It deals with communication by means of videos, brochures, books, etc. The M.I. Council in Ivory Coast is coordinated by Nicolas KESSE. The M.I. is present in five dioceses and in many parishes where meetings are frequent. The M.I. operates a pastoral care center for children between the ages of eight and twelve. The M.I. takes care of the financial aspect and uses rented space for meetings.
In Burkina Faso, despite the current unrest, the presence of the M.I. is alive and has spread widely in the country. Burkina Faso has a presence of Conventual Franciscan friars. The National Assistant is Friar Marek HRYNIEWICKI. M.I. President Jean Léonard BALMA said the M.I. has been presented before His Eminence, Philippe Nakellentuba Cardinal OUÉDRAOGO. M.I. groups in Burkina Faso often meet with each other and there is also an annual celebratory meeting. An annual celebration in memory of the foundation of the M.I. is well attended. President BALMA thanked the International President, Miquel Bordas PRÓSZYNSKI, for the wonderful opportunity of attending this meeting, but he hopes there will be a meeting between all of the M.I. councilors in Africa, for discussion and to create a unified program.
In Gabon, M.I. President Christelle NTSAME stated that the M.I. was officially established in 2011, but the first presence dates back to 1992, through the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) with Father Emanuele FRANÇOIS, who died last year. For the moment, Gabon has no National Assistant, but there are diocesan priests in charge of formation in the parishes. President NTSAME was elected on October 17, 2021. M.I. members define themselves as soldiers and knights of the Immaculata. The national headquarters is in the capital, Libreville, but Gabon has another M.I. center located in another city. The M.I. knights in formation meet every Thursday. Those who are already consecrated meet once a month, for formation and for prayer. In Gabon, the M.I. Council is made up of the President, the First Secretary, the Second Secretary and a Communications Officer. The M.I. year begins with Mass and a meeting to plan for the year. There are M.I. retreats in Advent and Lent. Each May, there is a Marian retreat in the five dioceses where the M.I. is present. In one area, the bishop himself is a soldier in the M.I. as is a diocesan priest. In Gabon, there are some difficulties concerning the logistics for meetings. At the same time, it is lamentable that Gabon currently has no religious institute with a Kolbean charism. It is hoped that the M.I. will become better known in the other dioceses of the country.
All the participants thanked the M.I. International Council for giving them this great opportunity to meet. At the conclusion of the meeting, the M.I. International President Miquel Bordas PRÓSZYNSKI was amazed by the dynamism of the M.I. in these countries. He reminded everyone that World Youth Day will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2023 and asked if it were possible for a group of young people to participate, suggesting they respond well in advance, in order to thoroughly plan the logistics.
In addition, on the recommendation of the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, a visit by the M.I. International President and the Assistant General has been scheduled for these countries. The Assistant General will visit November 26 or 27, 2022. The International President will visit December 3-11, 2022.
At 6:30 p.m., the meeting concluded with a prayer to the Virgin Mary and best wishes to all for a good mission.
Margherita PERCHINELLI, M.I. International Vice-President