Palmerston North’s Cathedral community café has been ‘retired’ after 27 years of service. The café has been a special project of the diocese’s social justice group since 1993. A thanksgiving morning tea was held at the Cathedral on 21 March, to thank more than 50 parishioners who have generously and regularly prepared three-course, home-cooked meals for low-income families over many years.
Inspired by the centrality of the Eucharist, in which Christ gave his broken body for the salvation of the world, the social justice group believed it must provide food for the hungry. The late Ivan Snook frequently made the connection between the Eucharist and the world’s hungry in his parish newsletter articles, quoting from Monica Hellwig’s classic work by the same title. The connection between the Eucharist and feeding the hungry was also the reason new cooks were recruited around the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ each year.
The café was unique. Parishioners’ home-cooked meals comprised three kinds of soup, a variety of mains, hot and cold vegetables, a choice of desserts, and a glass of wine or juice. The café 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 that for 27 years.
Special thanks to Josie Snook who organised the cooks every week before the café opened, and to Marie Leslie, for shopping each week purchasing juice, wine, chippies, margarine, serviettes and ice cream for the patrons.