BY FR. MARK SOEHNER, OFM
How do friars thank people who have gone beyond the call of duty? We have a special meal! Freshly roasted ham, sweet potatoes and apples, Blue Cheese wedge of salad, green beans and fruit dessert filled the dining room with aroma and laughter.
On Easter Monday, the friars of Duns Scotus Friary in Berkley gathered to honor three people who have given so much to our community: Dawn Pulcer; Hana Yono; and Al Edmunds. Dawn and Hana each contributed by keeping our chapel supplied with fresh flowers, providing a Sunday meal when we all were dragging into the friary after a long Sunday, and being generous benefactors to us at many of our ministries. Al Edmunds was honored with the special "Francis Medal" after serving for more than 20 years in various capacities with the friars.
When I was pastor of St. Aloysius in the ‘90s, Al began to help with sandwiches for the homeless, then became the regular maker of the oatmeal at 4:30 a.m. so we could open the doors at 5 a.m. After I left Detroit in 2008, Br. Al Mascia employed Al’s various skills as a helper in his setup for concerts, for helping in the new Canticle Café, and taking baked goods and coffee to the streets. Al Edmunds then moved with Al Mascia to the new Duns Scotus Friary when it was just in its infancy.
"I was really surprised, and I really appreciate it," Al says of the Francis Medal that now sits on his desk. "I’ve been working with Fr. Mark for a long time, and when Br. Al came along we started making Friar Lights candles." Al also acts as porter for the many visitors who come to Duns Scotus Friary and the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace. "People tell me their problems and I try to be a confidante." In addition, "I’ve got a prayer list, and I pray for people every day. It makes me happy to help others along the way."
At 85, Al Edmunds continues his dynamic presence and ministry. We were glad to honor him with our prized medal, and hope for many more years of collaboration.