Buncrana and Fahan minister Rev. Judi McGaffin makes history as first female canon in history of St. Eunan's Cathedral

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.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 3:16 pm
Rev. Canon Judi McGaffin
Rev. Canon Judi McGaffin

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, Rev. Canon Katie McAteer became the first female canon in St. Columb’s Cathedral’s 400-year history.

“I feel honoured and humbled,” Canon McGaffin said, “to have been appointed to the Cathedral Chapter of St Eunan and, in truth, it’s taking some getting used to. 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."

The appointment of Rev. Canon McGaffin and Rev. Canon McAteer follow the historic election of Rev. Pat Storey, former rector of St. Augustine’s in the city, as the Bishop of Meath and Kildare in 2013. Bishop Storey was the first woman to be elected a Bishop in Ireland or Britain.

Rev. Canon McGaffin says she will continue to minister in Buncrana and Fahan notwithstanding her new appointment.

“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.