Rev. Lorraine McCarthy
Reverend of Celebrant Ireland
I have a deep passion for celebration and ceremony. For the past seven years, I've had the privilege of creating and conducting ceremonies that honour diverse beliefs and mark significant moments in life's journey. My dedication lies in crafting personalised and meaningful ceremonies, ranging from baby-naming and blessings to legal weddings, rites of passage, and funerals. Since becoming an ordained Interfaith Minister, my ceremonies have gained a newfound depth, reflecting the enduring power of love.
Allow me to share my journey that led me to this point. I was born into a typical small-town Irish family in County Louth, the eldest of five siblings. While my younger brothers and sisters might say I was the responsible one, I've always had a natural curiosity about people and their stories. This curiosity deepened as I grew older.
In 1995, I married my partner, Keith McCarthy, and two years later, we welcomed our son, Conor. While we wished to expand our family, fertility challenges prevented it. The sadness that this brought into my life set me on a path of exploration. I connected with others facing similar challenges and discovered my innate ability to listen with empathy and understanding.
In 2010, I faced a critical illness that tested my faith and trust in my own nature, health, and belief in the Almighty. For weeks, I hovered between life and death, experiencing excruciating pain and crippling uncertainty. My family grappled with the professionals' opinions. During this trying time, I fought relentlessly to recover, and I believe my journey to healing began when I connected with my inner spirit.
Upon regaining my strength, I developed a profound desire to celebrate life's joys. I realised that there are numerous moments in life that warrant celebration, from major events like weddings, new life, and funerals to everyday achievements such as passing exams or reaching personal goals. This realisation initiated the journey that has brought me here today.
I pursued a two-year certification with the Irish Institute of Celebrants and became a Certified Family Celebrant. I began officiating at various ceremonies, from weddings and naming days to vow renewals and celebrations of life lived. With each ceremony, I uncovered a deeper spiritual side within me. I started to explore this spiritual aspect, remembering how the divine's healing power had guided me from the darkness of illness to the light of strength.
My journey took a significant turn when a friend introduced me to a new path, which changed my life. I embarked on this journey, recognising the presence of the spirit within me. I understood that this spirit had been with me during crucial moments in my life when I needed guidance. This path led me to discover a whole new world of inspiration and a community of fellow seekers who supported me.
Regrettably, as I neared the end of my first year of training, I faced another significant health challenge that required open-heart surgery. My journey to recovery was long and filled with dangerous setbacks. Yet, with my deepening understanding of the divine within me and the unwavering support of my family, I felt my strength returning. I also gained renewed confidence in my ability to use my life experiences to provide assistance and comfort to others during times of mental anguish and uncertainty. I continue to take joy in officiating at significant family events and offering solace to those experiencing sadness and loss.