The core of McEachern’s talk focused on what he coined as “service to solutions.” He spoke of the profound systemic poverty where Edmundite Missions operates. He said the heart of the solution is helping everyone they touch see that just because people might be poor, this does not mean that they do not have intellect. Much of what Edmundite Missions has done in the area for 80 years, in addition to feeding and clothing the poor, has centered on helping people to build on their intellect and learn how to be better role models for one another.
McEachern spoke of Father Francis Casey, S.S.E. and how Edmundite Missions began in 1937. Pope Pius XI appealed to the Society of St. Edmund to minister to the African-Americans of the deep south. Casey discovered thousands of people living in extreme poverty, similar to that of a third world country, in Selma. Edmundites are still deeply involved in this important work to this day, providing food, clothing and shelter to poor and marginalized people of all faiths, while attempting to address the long-term issues of systemic poverty.
This work is guided by the corporal mercies found in Matthew 25: 35-36: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
While the Bosco Nutrition Center, run by Edmundites Missions, serves hot, nutritious meals 365 days a year, there is also a commitment to empowering the community through educational programming and by providing jobs. McEachern said education about voting rights is of paramount importance in Selma. In his talk he walked Saint Michael’s students through the historical progression of how some of our most vital voting laws came to fruition to protect minority voters and why they are still so important today.
The Edmundite Missions’ Dr. Michael and Catherine Bullock Community and Recreation Center is slated to open in November. This is a state-of-the-art facility close to the Bosco Nutrition Center on Broad Street. It is designed to provide a safe place for neighbors to come together. McEachern said the center will be a valuable resource for Missions staff to identify individuals who are in need of their help. For example, with the new basketball court, kids who come to play could also have a chance to take part in tutoring services, ACT prep and so much more.
McEachern urged students and others in attendance to visit Edmundite Missions in Selma. For more information visit https://www.edmunditemissions.org/.