August 30th, 2014

'Singing Priest' vows to donate any earnings to the church

Daily WorldBy Daragh Keany
Father Ray Kelly.
Father Ray Kelly.

The priest whose personal rendition of Leonard Cohan's 'Hallelujah' at a wedding in Meath has become an internet sensation has vowed to give any money he makes from the footage straight back to the church.

Father Ray Kelly took the mic at the wedding of Chris and Leah O'Kane but instead of closing the ceremony as planned, the priest unleashed a big surprise for the couple that has become wedding video sensation.

A backing track mysteriously begins before Fr Kelly launches into a rewritten version of 'Hallelujah', customised for the newly married couple.

In a powerful voice, he belts out the melody with ease that renders the congregation speechless.

By the end, the stunned bride is left in tears while members of the audience offer a standing ovation.

After the footage garnered more than 130,000 views on YouTube the 'Singing Priest' became an overnight star.

He told 2FM's Ryan Tubridy how he had actually performed the same routine for years.

“I’ve no idea how this works but if I make a single cent from this I will stick it straight back into the church," he said.

“I’ve actually been doing this for over two years at weddings, but this is the first time it has been sent into YouTube. I’m amazed that 130,000 have seen it."

He explained: “A few years ago a choir in my church sang Hallelujah and I changed the words to fit in with the bride and groom so I just went over afterwards and asked them for the lyrics.

"Then I found the JLS karaoke version which seemed to be in the perfect key for me. Then a few weeks later I started doing it.

“Neither the bride or groom on Saturday were local but they wanted to use my church because it is close to where they were holding the reception, so they didn’t know what I was planning.

“I mentioned that I may sing at the rehearsal dinner on Thursday but even still I don’t think they knew what I was planning.”

Check out Fr  Kelly's performance below...