Pastor Mullarkey, from St Mark’s Pentecostal on Dublin’s Pearse St, joined a congregation of fans and churchgoers to cheer on their most famous parishioner. He said Ireland took the Olympic gold medallist to heart thanks to her humble nature. He described Katie as a humble person who was in no way a glory hunter.
“That’s just typical Katie, There’s no sense of ‘here I am, where’s the attention’, and that’s what caused the Irish nation to fall in love with her,” he said.
The Taylors have been part of the community for about eight years.
The 26-year-old Olympian is known for pointing to the heavens after her bouts and always praises God for being her shield and her strength in post-match interviews.
“Katie normally says ‘thank you, Jesus’ as that’s the focus of her life and that’s where her heart is at,” said Pastor Mullarkey.
The routine does not stop at prayers, with her mother Bridget neatly tying her hair before each contest to fit snugly under the head guard. In London for the fight, Mrs Taylor said she was over the moon and played down her role in supporting her daughter’s Olympic dream. “To be quite honest, it’s more the sacrifices that Katie has made in her life,” she said.
The mother and daughter also pray together before bouts, reciting parts of Psalm 18, renamed Katie’s Psalm, in St Mark’s.
Taylor recites it before and after fights and when in training and a few lineshave been put up on the wall of the recently-refurbished Bray boxing club. “In the boxing ring in Bray there’s a few lines from verse 30 of the psalm that are very specific to what she believes is her call,” said Mr Mullarkey.
The verse itself calls on God to act as a shield for the person praying, and also includes pleas to give them feet “like the feet of a deer” and their arms strong enough to “bend a bow of bronze”, lines that are particularly apt for a boxer of Katie’s ilk.
“On the last Sunday before they departed for the Olympic village they [the family] came to the church and came up to the platform and the whole church stood and had the pleasure of blessing her and praying for her and asking that she just have a great Olympic Games,” said Pastor Mullarkey.
About 400 balloons were ordered for the history-making day and a big screen was put up inside a church building, as the fellowship offered a roomful of prayers for their boxing champ.
The Pentecostal Church, where Mrs Taylor’s sister-in-law is a music and worshipping ministry leader, is a form of orthodox Christianity, and services often include lively music with drums and electric guitars.
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