Oliver Deegan, Parishioner with Limerick City Parish will be commissioned as a Diocesan Reader on Sunday – he shares his journey with us here:-
In Acts 9, Saul saw a light from Heaven flash around him, and he heard the voice of Jesus Christ. He was later visited by Ananias, on God’s instructions, who cured him of his blindness, and he was baptised as Paul. If only my call was so striking. No, but it did (and does) have it’s moments.
I was raised as a Roman Catholic, but was not a full member when I was diagnosed with a very advanced illness on 16/08/2005, my 25th wedding anniversary. I was confined to bed for over a year, wa unable to read a book, or use a TV remote, and so had plenty of time to think about things. “What did I really believe” was one. When I was finally able to research religions, I found that my best fit was Anglicanism, and so my new journey began.
I was finally fit enough to attend a Church of Ireland service in 2009, and was made very welcome in St. Michael’s church, Limerick City parish. I was asked around 2013. if I would be an extra adult at Sunday school classes, for “Health and Safety” reasons. I did know that this was the soft-sell hook to become a Sunday school teacher. It worked. It also led to other parish roles.
My second period of reflection came because I had to strictly observe Covid restrictions. Unable to attend any parish activities, I researched how I might be of service to my parish, post-covid. I found out about parish/diocesan readership. With the support of Dean Niall Sloane, and Rev. Liz Beasley, I enrolled in the Maynooth Certificate in Christian Studies Level 7 programme on January 27th, 2022. And the rest is history. Thanks to my mentor, Rev. Dr. Leonard Madden (who finally got me to understand ‘Oxford Comma’). I will officially graduate in Dec. 2023, and meanwhile be commissioned this Sunday by Bishop Michael.
I would like to state that I take this role very seriously, humbly, prayerfully, and sure that I have been called. I ask for your prayers at this time, but maybe a cuppa and a chat at a later date. I am deeply honoured and grateful for all the help and encouragement that I have received, and especially the support and understanding of the love of my life, always and all ways, my wife Bertha.
I would fully recommend consideration of Readership. I was able to learn by Zoom meetings arranged by Rev. Tom Gordon, to whom I owe tremendous thanks. The whole course, with all it’s various modules was very stimulating. By the way, I am 67, and my last examination was in 1973. No excuses for age, mental or physical incapacity, will be accepted.
Oliver’s Commissioning Service will be held at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick on Sunday 8th October, 2023 at 4.30pm. All are very welcome to attend and support Oliver in this new phase of ministry.