Rev Judi McGaffin takes up historic Donegal appointment
The Rev Judi McGaffin has made history after being appointed the first female canon in the centuries-old history of St Eunan’s Cathedral, in Raphoe.
Rev Canon McGaffin said she was dumbstruck when she learned that she had been chosen to succeed Rev Canon Dr Bill Long who retired in March.
Canon McGaffin is the second woman appointed as a canon by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster. Last June, in Derry, Rev Canon Katie McAteer became the first female canon in St Columb’s Cathedral’s 400-year history.
“I feel honoured and humbled to have been appointed to the Cathedral Chapter of St Eunan and, in truth, it’s taking some getting used to," said Canon McGaffin.
“When Bishop Andrew first told me on the telephone that he was appointing me Canon, I think he thought something had happened to me: I was dumbstruck, literally – I couldn’t speak.
“Now that the news is sinking in, I can see the significance of it, from an historical point of view. It is rather awesome to have become the first female Canon in the long and illustrious history of St Eunan’s Cathedral. I appreciate what an honour that is for me, personally. Most importantly of all, though, I accept that this is part of God’s plan for my ministry and for the Chapter, and that realisation is both exciting and daunting.
“Whatever I do in ministry, though, it’s in God’s strength and to His glory. In every phase of my ministry – first in Dunfanaghy, then in Donemana, and now in Fahan and Buncrana – I have been challenged and fulfilled. I hope that will continue to be the case. I pray that in this next phase I will justify Bishop Andrew’s confidence in me and, most importantly, serve in a manner which helps build God’s kingdom in the Diocese of Raphoe and beyond.
“I hope my wonderful parishioners in Fahan and Buncrana aren’t too disappointed when they learn that this new appointment does not require relocation to Raphoe. They’re stuck with me ‘for the foreseeable’, and that suits me splendidly.”
A date has yet to be fixed for Canon McGaffin’s Service of Installation.
St Eunan's Cathedral, Raphoe
St Eunan’s Cathedral is the mother church of the Church of Ireland Diocese of Raphoe. Christianity has flourished in Raphoe for over 1,400 years and St Eunan’s has been there for 800 years. The church was virtually rebuilt in 1605 by Rt Rev Dr George Montgomery, who was chaplain to King James I and was simultaneously Bishop of Raphoe, Clogher and Derry. Much of the current building dates from the 1730s and the cathedral has recently undergone another extensive renovation.
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