A new chapter was written on Thursday 4th November, 2021, in the centuries-long history of St Eunan’s Cathedral in Raphoe, when the Rev Canon Judi McGaffin was installed as a member of the Cathedral Chapter. In succeeding Rev Canon Dr Bill Long, who retired last March, the Bishop’s Curate-in-Charge of the Fahan Group of Parishes became the first ever female member of the Raphoe Cathedral Chapter.
Bishop Andrew Forster told the restricted congregation at Thursday’s Service of Installation that when he telephoned the new canon, last May, with news of her appointment, Canon McGaffin was struck dumb. “I am one of the few people who can ever say that they made Judi McGaffin speechless. You know how Judi always has something to say? Whenever I asked her to be a canon of the Cathedral, I thought the phone line had gone dead for a few seconds.”
At the time of her appointment, Canon McGaffin became only the second female canon in the history of the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe (in June last year, Rev Canon Katie McAteer had been installed as a canon of St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry).
Bishop Andrew described the Installation as a “momentous” evening for the Diocese as they gathered to celebrate Rev Judi and her ministry. “We treasure you and we honour you tonight, and we want you to know that you are a blessing to all of us.”
In his sermon, the preacher, Rev Adam Pullen, saluted the new canon’s passionate advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities, her support for the many victims of the mica crisis in Donegal and her work with other denominations in Inishowen and beyond.
Rev Pullen said the first reading, from Isaiah 61: vs 1-4 and 8-11, gave him hope and gave him heart that [ours] was a God of peace, of love and of justice, “who seeks the welfare of the least, the last, the lost, the widow and the orphan, and I know that that very much chimes with your heart, too, Judi.”
Thursday’s service was led by the Archdeacon of Raphoe, Ven. David Huss, who was assisted by Canon Harry Gilmore and Diocesan Registrar Canon David Crooks. Also present was the Dean of Derry, Very Rev Raymond Stewart. Music for the service was provided by the church organist, Mrs Renee Goudie. Members of Canon McGaffin’s family, and parishioners from Fahan and Buncrana, were in church for the historic occasion.