Sean Hanily – “A sense of God’s calling was a recurring feature of my life”
Sean Hanily will be ordained to the Diaconate on Sunday September 17 in Christ Church Cathedral at 3.30 pm by Archbishop Michael Jackson. Here he talks of his background and journey in faith. He will serve as intern Deacon in the Parish of Rathfarnham.
I grew up in Roscommon, in a somewhat typical West–of–Ireland family who as well as working normal ‘day–jobs’, also ran the family farm and were heavily involved in music and Irish culture. My background has had an enormous impact on my outlook in life, and my love of genealogy has made me conscious of our church genealogy and our relationship with the church of the past and future.
I went on to study music at Trinity College, Dublin, where I was also a Choral Scholar in the Chapel Choir; an organisation that as well as affording me the opportunity to visit many different churches both in Ireland and abroad, also gave me an insight into varying liturgies. During my time in Trinity College, a sense of God’s calling was a recurring feature of my life, but one which I was shy to discuss as I didn’t feel that God was telling me that the time was quite right.
After finishing in college, I worked in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin for almost three years – during which time the calling which I had felt previously returned. At that time, I divided my time between Dublin and Roscommon, and as a result found guidance and encouragement from people in both places. Eventually, and after much thought and prayer Canon Liz McElhinney encouraged me to go forward on the foundation course, and my journey since then has thankfully been affirming and positive.
Throughout my placement experiences in Saint James’ Church, Crinken; Holy Trinity, Killiney; Saint John the Evangelist, Sandymount; and Ming Hua Theological College, Hong Kong, I have seen the hand of God at work in many wondrous ways both in my own life and in the lives of others. Each of the placements was a very positive experience, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to explore the diverse wealth of traditions that exist within the Church of Ireland and the Anglican Communion.
I feel that God has been close at hand at every stage, and has been very gracious to me. None more so than when I met my wife Cherith during my first placement – God’s help and guidance has been with us since, and we were married on 26th July this year. As well as being an exciting time for us personally, it is also a very exciting time spiritually as we both move to a new parish and look forward to meeting new people and seeing God at work in their lives.
I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that the Deacon internship in Rathfarnham parish will put before me, and pray that God will equip me for the tasks ahead over the coming year.