Cathedral community café to close after 27 years

A monthly meal to feed the poor, organised by members of the Catholic cathedral community in Palmerston North, is to cease after 27 years of service.

       Dr Mary Eastham

The Cathedral Community Café has been retired, wrote founding member Dr Mary Eastham in an article on the electronic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit notices for February 27.

“The cafe proved to be unsustainable after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed last year, and life returned to normal as much as could be expected,” Dr Eastham wrote.

A “thank you morning tea” is scheduled to be held at 10.30am on March 21 for all those who cooked or helped with the meals.

Since 1993, the Cathedral Community Café has been a special project of the cathedral’s Social Justice Group.

“Given the centrality of the Eucharist, in which Christ gave his Broken Body for the salvation of the world, the group believed it must provide food for the hungry,” Dr Eastham wrote.

New cooks were recruited at the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ every year, she added.

The cafe took place on the first Monday of every month; when a public holiday occurred, however, it took place on the second Monday.  A Christmas BBQ and a February BBQ took place in summer.

“Our cafe was unique in every way,” Dr Eastham wrote.

“It was never a soup kitchen. Parishioners from the cathedral provided a gourmet, three-course, homecooked meal, [comprising] three kinds of soup, a variety of mains, hot and cold vegetables, a choice of desserts, and a glass of wine or juice.

“The cafe was intended to be a cheerful and loving place, where low income families could take the whole family out for a delicious meal.  And it was . . . for 27 years.”

Dr Eastham wrote that, “We always got the impression that those who provided the feast benefitted even more than those who enjoyed the meal”.

“It was all part of the spirit of connection and communion.”

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Rowena Orejana

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