Hallelujah for singing priest as he takes new-found fame in his stride
A Meath priest who has become an internet sensation overnight has taken his new-found fame in his stride.
Known locally as the singing priest, Fr Ray Kelly’s version of the Leonard Cohen hit Hallelujah performed at a local wedding clocked up almost 2.5m hits on YouTube.
The Oldcastle parish priest brought newly-weds Leah and Chris O’Kane to tears after he surprised them from the altar with a personalised version of the song — containing their names — during the ceremony. After his rendition brought the shocked wedding guests to their feet for an ovation, he calmly returned to the pulpit to deliver the final prayer.
Since the video went viral, a different clip has also been uploaded to Facebook of a wedding where Fr Kelly sang the Westlife hit, You Raise Me Up, to another couple.
Yesterday, while preparing for a local funeral, he said: “I’m taking it all in my stride.
“Leah and Chris sent me an email to thank me and to tell me I was on YouTube. I think I’ve gone into YouTube twice in my life so I clicked on the link to see what it was all about and saw it had been viewed 8,000 times.
“Within an hour, I was getting phone calls from all over the place to tell me I was on YouTube, Facebook and everywhere else.”
Fr Kelly, who worked in Africa and the US before moving to Oldcastle a number of years ago, is well-known for his singing and used to be a member of the St Mary’s Musical Society in Navan.
He explained it all started at a wedding in Co Fermanagh a few years ago. “I was at a wedding in Enniskillen and the singers began Hallelujah and put in the bride and groom’s name.
“I said I have to get this so I asked for a copy of their words after the service and decided on JLS as a backing track.
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