Te Ahi Kaa the Hearth Place

Palmerston North Mary-Grace Williams3 July 2012 When Bishop Peter Cullinane asked my husband Jonny Boon and I if we would live in Te Ahi Kaa Diocesan Young Adult Community House…

Palmerston North

Mary-Grace Williams
3 July 2012

Te Ahi Kaa the Hearth Place Archdiocese of WellingtonWhen Bishop Peter Cullinane asked my husband Jonny Boon and I if we would live in Te Ahi Kaa Diocesan Young Adult Community House and support a young adult community, we had mixed feelings.

We were incredibly excited and humbled by the idea but we wondered if the time had come after travelling through the first few years of our married life to set up house and live a ‘normal’ life together.

In our society, we learn that to have a successful life, you have to have a good job, own your own house and raise your kids with your partner or, for some people, on your own.

The problem with this model is that some find it hard to sustain. It would be much easier to live with others, pool your resources and share what you have and that’s just the financial side.

We are all called to be part of community, Christ’s body. Having lived and journeyed with others before, sharing household chores, praying and serving the community together, we have seen seeds being sown and fruits that have been borne and we hope this community house will be a similar blessing for the young adults of Palmerston North city.

Although you live with others in a flat, it’s different because there is no commitment to spending time together. In community, you make the people you live with and those in the wider community a focus in your life. You make a commitment to fostering those relationships and at the centre of it is Christ. Te Ahi Kaa stands on four pillars: prayer, hospitality, formation and service.

Although everyone in the house is busy, the six of us choose to share and deepen our Catholic faith together.

The young adults with us this year are 20-year-old pre-vet student Kristina Fransen from Hamilton, Marty Doohan, a 19-year-old draughtsman from Napier, Sam Marneth-Rust, 20, from Morrinsville, studying agri-business and 23-year-old Shon Matthew from India, studying Information and Communication Technology at UCOL.

As well as being our actual home, the community house is a base for the wider Catholic young adult community. We host a different activity every week after the 6pm Mass at the cathedral. We usually have dinner, followed by a discussion night, movie night, prayer and praise or, if we feel like it, just something social.

We provide rides to and from Massey University to make it easier for students to attend Mass and join in on the Sunday evening catch-ups. We also have Mass and lunch once a week at the Massey University Chaplaincy, Te Wai Ora (The Centre), on a Wednesday at 12.05.

To find out more contact Mary-Grace Williams, Catholic Tertiary and Young Adult Chaplain: mgwilliams@pndiocese.org.nz or 021 811 148.

Image: PN young adults on Anzac Day tramp.