Irish 'wedding singer' priest goes viral

Published Wednesday, 09 April 2014
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A bride and groom in Co Meath have been given a wedding to remember, after the priest launched into an emotional and personalised version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah during the service.

Father Ray Kelly wowed the congregation with his vocal ability and brought the bride to tears.

Newlyweds Leah and Chris O'Kane were celebrating their big day in the priest's Old Castle parish when the surprise performance added to the occasion.

According to the Irish Times, Father Ray had told the couple he would sing for them - but they had no idea exactly what to expect.

And few people in the church seemed prepared for the priest's impressive voice.

We join together here today to help two people on their way, as Leah and Chris start their life together ...

Father Ray Kelly, singing Hallelujah

"Locally, most people know I sing at weddings, but Leah and Chris aren't from the parish," Father Ray told the newspaper.

"I told them at the rehearsal I would sing for them, but I think they were a bit taken aback."

After the song, those packed into the church pews erupted into applause, cheers and whistles, with some people getting to their feet to give the singing priest a standing ovation.

Meanwhile, since a video of the weekend performance was posted online on Monday, more than 2,600,000 people have viewed it - with many of them leaving comments full of praise.

"I'd have been sobbing my heart out - what an amazing voice, and truly a gift from God," one viewer noted.

Another added: "Church numbers would go up. Man has soul."

© UTV News
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28 Comments
Angie Devereauxa in South Australia wrote (132 days ago):
Have watched this over and over again .What a wonderful gift Father Ray Kelly has .What a truly lovely surprise for the couple ,their friends and family
Brian Davies in Australia wrote (138 days ago):
I am a registered marriage celebrant in Australia and forget all the out of date ancient rituals of the mass, this priest along with the new Pope are the new path finders for a church so out of step with the 22nd century. In Australia 0ver 70% of weddings are performed by government accredited celebrants as we are prepared to give a ceremony of choice. The couples choose not a ceremony that has been said for the last 100 years and has no meaning to young people who want modern values of family, love, and their own values spoken, & not those of some one who doesn't know the love and intimacy of a man and a woman. The sooner priests are allowed to be married, then we will see weddings that mean something, Father Kelly, come to Australia, and you will have more weddings than you will know what to do with. If Jesus was down here on earth today I think he would be the first to congratulate Father Kelly. After all the son of Christ didn't have marble and gold icons where he preached. Time all these overly elaborate trimmings were disposed of and the simple basics returned. I have prayed in a lot of denomination churches and the only time I felt close to God was in a grass hut church in Papua New Guinea where the love of God came before ancient rites.
Josephine in derry wrote (141 days ago):
This was wonderful for that young couple. Father Kelly sung it most beautiful and dignified in the house of God.I wish Father Kelly and the young good luck. May I also say the house of God is also a house of joy
Michael B. in Kentucky wrote (141 days ago):
Truly touching. Keep that kinda stuff up and people will be returning their hearts to God and the Church in droves. What a humble, sincere, funny and witty priest. Exactly what we need to head us all back down the straight and narrow path!
David M in NI wrote (141 days ago):
I think it was totally inappropriate for the priest to do this. The Mass is not a karaoke show. Nowhere in the Sacred Rites is there a place for such nonsense. The fact that so many people think it is wonderful shows how far we have fallen. Holy Mass is not for narcissism.
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