John Gawley – Killanley Parish, Tuam Diocese talks here about his journey to diocesan readership.
“See a need, fill a need” to quote Mr Bigweld from the animated film Robots
That would be my starting point.
I can remember sitting in church as a youngster see the clergy leading the service, and saying to myself I could do that, but never thinking that I would.
My Father (Ivan) was a reader in our church so that took some more of the mystery out of it, and when I was asked by Rev Stephen McWhirter would I step up and become one, I agreed.
And then Rev Stephen was rushed to hospital, so I was front and centre, no training and very little preparation, yet I survived. 5 or 6 years passed which included training especially on the job training, I remember one occasion early on, Rev Stephen had organised a 5th Sunday service for the group of churches and the message was sent out that all the readers in attending had to have a small piece on why they were now readers, I had not read the message other than there was a service so when I realised in the vestry what we had to do I knew I was in a pickle, but I cobbled something out of my memories and delivered it to the congregation, and they seemed to appreciate it so the believed I could be a good reader and I was happy in my role.
When Bishop Patrick approached me to see If I would take the next step as there was a need for diocesan reader, I declined at first for numerous reasons, but then Covid stepped in and a number of those reasons disappeared, I saw this as a sign, and with the support of my family, Rev Caroline Morrow and Rev Stephen and all our congregation I agreed to attempt the CITI course in Dublin.
That first weekend, when we are all asked if we were going to commit to the course, I was undecided right up until the last moment – to be truthful it was not something that I sought out but on reflection I had made a promise that I would try and pass, so I took the plunge.
I will be honest the course is demanding on your time and commitment and I am not truly an academic, so there were times when I struggled and wanted to throw it in the bin but support from my fellow students and the lecturers helped me reach the finish line and I now have my Certificate from Trinity College. But my time as a student was a joyous time meeting like minded people on a similar journey being a student for 7 weekends, making new friends, I would recommend it to anyone thinking about it, it is hard but if I got through it most people will fly through it.
My faith has been strengthened by my journey and I believe that I am a better person for my time training as a Diocesan Reader.
I am looking forward to continuing my journey and I thank all who have helped so far especially my family and a mention for Rev Tom Gordon and Bishop Michael who helped Frances and I to complete the requirements in a stressfree manner.
John Gawley will be commissioned as a Diocesan Reader on Saturday 7th October at 8pm in Killanley Church.
Everyone is invited to come and support John on this most wonderful occasion.