It is comforting to think that when we come to die, we’d be lucky enough to leave behind family and friends who give us the gift of a unique and dignified ceremonial farewell. Comforting and important for grieving families and friends too, to be proud of the tribute paid to their loved one, as they learn to step into a changed world.
As funeral Celebrants, we create personal funeral ceremonies for families, with their loved one at the very centre. The ceremony can include music, poetry, readings, flowers, and stories; all reflective of the essence of the person who has died. If a certain ritual aligns with the beliefs and wishes of the deceased and their family, we can include it in the ceremony. For our wedding ceremonies, we lead with ‘your ceremony, your way’ and the very same is applied for our funeral ceremonies, memorial services and advanced funeral planning meetings.
Our job as funeral celebrants is to listen to you and to encourage you to tell stories of your loved one. We then carefully craft a meaningful ceremony and deliver it on the day of the funeral, holding space in a private, respectful and reflective way. We give thanks for the person who has died in this safe and healing ceremony space.
My journey to becoming a Funeral Celebrant
I wrote a blog about my journey to becoming a Funeral Celebrant which you can read about here
Please get in touch with any questions you may have. Some may be answered under Frequently Asked Questions:
Who chooses a Celebrant? The Celebrant can be chosen by the family, once the funeral ceremony is arranged. Celebrants may be recommended by Funeral Directors or by staff at the Crematorium.
Why choose a Celebrant? Celebrant led funerals are becoming part of a new way of marking deaths and celebrating lives. A Celebrant may be chosen if the deceased or their family aren’t affiliated with any religious beliefs or traditions. Celebrants are modern, progressive and creative professionals. They bring a unique element to the ceremony and they are a compassionate support for families at a difficult time.
Can funeral ceremonies include prayers or hymns? Absolutely yes. If that is your wish, a prayer or hymn can be included.
What is the cost? The fee for a Funeral Celebrant is €350.
Where does the funeral ceremony take place? The ceremony takes place at the funeral home or at the chapel in the Crematorium. Ceremonies can take place outside or at any suitable quiet space at the behest of the family.
What are some Modern Funeral Practices
Creative Funeral Planning:
As Celebrants, we meet with families who share the funeral service wishes of their much loved one. We do our best to advise families through their choices, much like we would in the preparation of our other rituals and ceremonies. We’ll enjoy a coffee together and we’ll prepare a little folder of wishes for the family.
End of Life Rituals:
Much like meeting families for funeral planning, we bring our experience of creating ceremonies, to suggest end of life rituals that align with the person’s belief system. For example, the burning of sage has long been associated with cleansing and can therefore help families feel like they have aided their loved one in their passing. The belief is that the burning of sage assists in cleansing away negative emotions.
Memorial services take place primarily for those whose funerals were impacted by restrictions during the pandemic. These can be held in a home or a function room and are always full of love. As with creative funeral planning and end of life rituals, we combine our experience together with the wishes from the family, as we help to celebrate their loved ones life and to tribute them accordingly.
A living funeral is a goodbye life celebration held before death. It is usually prepared by someone who knows that they do not have much time left to live. Also called a pre-funeral, this ritual is held to celebrate a life and to give thanks to everyone attending. The ceremony is often a happy event, providing closure for the person and their friends and family. The living funeral is the perfect opportunity to express our love to each other and to say all the things that may need to be said. In this shared exchange of memories and celebration of friendships and family relationships, many feel that they take the stress away from the after death funeral. Taking place in homes, gardens, hotels and restaurants, families and friends can make speeches, sing, read poetry and enjoy food, drinks and photographs in this, the ‘party of a life’. One of the most famous living funerals was for Morrie Schwartz, as documented in both the book and the film ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. Morrie brought up the question of why one should wait until they are dead to be appreciated. When attending his friend Irv’s funeral, Morrie said ‘What a waste, all those people saying all those wonderful things and (he) never got to hear any of it’. So Morrie ‘had a better idea’ for himself as he battled his terminal illness. ‘On a cold Sunday afternoon, he was joined in his home by a small group of friends and family for a living funeral. Morrie cried and laughed with them’ and ‘his living funeral was a rousing success’.
Scattering of Ashes:
Thanks to cremation funerals, people can now have ashes scattering ceremonies to celebrate the life of a loved one. For many people, scattering the ashes of a loved one is a way to memorialize them. This ritual is symbolic of the physical and emotional aspects of letting go of a loved one and can serve as an essential step in the process of grieving. Many choose to scatter the ashes of a loved one in a location with a personal meaning or a connection to the person who has died.
Interment of Ashes:
Interment is a term for keeping the ashes of a loved one in a permanent resting place following a cremation. It is a procedure preferred by many different religions and cultures and is for people who want to give their loved ones a final, physical resting place. It is common to hold a ceremony to accompany the interment of ashes, helping to bring closure to the family and friends of the person who has died. Such permanent resting places can include burial plots, woodland burial sites, private land, or columbariums.
A Columbarium is a building room or wall which is designed to hold cremation urns. It is an above ground interment option. There is a Columbarium Wall in Shannon Crematorium. Joseph O’ Neill, founder and managing director of Eternum Columbarium (www.eternumcolumbarium.com) designs, installs and manages beautiful resting places for cremated remains in Ireland. O’ Neill says that ‘Columbaria don’t necessarily have to be religious’ and that he is currently in ‘talks with some tourist attractions’ where he can ‘offer a dignified, secure and spiritual space where the memory of your loved ones is celebrated and honoured’.
~ St. John Chrysostom