Rev. Lorraine McCarthy
Reverend of Celebrant Ireland
I love celebration and I love ceremony. For five years now, I have been privileged to lovingly craft and deliver ceremonies, which reflect the importance of all beliefs, no matter how diverse. My passion is creating personal, bespoke, relevant ceremonies that mark the special times on life’s journey, from baby-naming and blessings, to legal weddings, rites of passage, and funerals. Since becoming an ordained Interfaith Minister, my ceremonies have taken on a new depth, a renewed awareness of the power of love.
I am delighted to share with you how my journey to this point came about. I was the first-born into a typical small-town Irish family in County Louth. My four younger brothers and sisters would tell you I was the bossy one, but I like to think I was always the responsible one. There was nothing remarkable about my upbringing but from an early age I had a natural curiosity about people and their stories. This interest got stronger as I grew up. In 1995, I married the love of my life, Keith McCarthy, and two years later we were gifted with the birth of our wonderful son Conor. While we would dearly have loved to add to our little family, fertility problems forbade it. The sadness these problems brought into my life, started me on a path of enquiry and discovery. I connected with others who had similar problems and found I had a natural instinct for listening with empathy and understanding.
Then in 2010, I became critically ill and my faith and trust in my own nature, my health and my belief in the Almighty, was sorely tested again. For many weeks I hovered between life and death, in great pain and crippling uncertainty. I looked on as my family wavered between acceptance and denial of the Professional’s opinions. During this time, I fought relentlessly to come back from the darkness of illness and I believe my journey to recovery began when I connected with my inner Spirit. On regaining my strength, I had a great desire to celebrate the good things in life. Indeed, I realised that there are many times in life that call for celebration, from the big occasions like weddings, new life and funerals, to the small every-day things like exam success or reaching a personal goal. Thus, began the journey that finds me sharing my story here today.
I studied for two years with the Irish Institute of Celebrants and became a Certified Family Celebrant. I began to officiate at wedding ceremonies, naming days, vow renewal ceremonies, celebration of life lived ceremonies and funerals. The more ceremonies I officiated, the more I realised that there was a deeper spiritual side within me. I began to explore this and I remembered how the healing power of the Divine had taken me from the darkness of ill-health to the light of strength. I began to feel the energy within, calling me to pursue a deeper understanding of my spirituality. Then a friend told me about OneSpirit, and my life changed. I began to recognise the power of the Spirit within. I realised that the spirit had been present at all the important times in my life when I needed help. I started my journey with OSIM and a whole new world opened up for me. I met a wonderful group of fellow students who inspired me all the time. I was joined by my husband Keith which, made the journey even more wonderful.
Unfortunately, as I neared the end of my first year of training, I was challenged again by a serious health problem which required open-heart surgery. My subsequent fight for recovery was lengthy and encountered several dangerous setbacks. However, with my deepening understanding of the Divine within me, and the support of my family, I feel my strength returning alongside renewed confidence in my ability to use my life experiences to offer assistance and succour to others in times of mental anguish and uncertainty. I also continue to take joy in my ability to officiate at all the noteworthy happy, family occasions and offer consolation and comfort to others at times of sadness and loss.