A priest has stunned wedding guests with a wonderful rendition of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” at the end of the ceremony.
The video of Father Ray Kelly has gone viral and has been viewed more than 2.7 million times in the space of four days! The Irish priest of Oldcastle, County Meath, said that the newlyweds had had no idea about this unexpected turn of events. He explained:
Normally, local people know I sing at weddings, funerals, or when I'm asked, but they didn't know - the bride Leah is from Dublin and the groom Chris is from Cookstown in County Tyrone.
When the 60-year-old cleric started singing, he left the audience totally gobsmacked. The talented priest said:
I’m singing for a while now. I’ve been doing it since I was a lad, I like to sing. It was always in the genes. I was part of the all priests show in Dublin, and that broke up a while back.
Father Kelly talked about mentioning his singing to the bride at the rehearsal, but she hadn’t taken him seriously. Fr. Kelly transformed the lyrics a little bit to make the song more suitable for the wedding. It begins:
We join together here today, to help two people on their way.
Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah," released in 1984, is one of the most covered songs of all time, has become popular after Jeff Buckley's version ten years later, and it has continued to grow in popularity ever since.
When the priest finished the song, he received some standing ovations and a big sheer. Father Kelly said he liked bringing music to the masses, making them more fun.
The video was made by Patrick Rushe, who said he was as surprised as anyone in the church when Father Kelly began singing.
The band Sunlight who had been doing the music for the wedding had just finished singing when he put on the backing track, but people were still looking at them as they didn't know where the music was coming from - they were shaking their heads and saying it wasn't them. At the end of the song, he got a standing ovation.
The cameraman sent the newlyweds the link to the video, so they knew how popular it had become.
Turns out that Father Kelly is working on his third album. He said:
I do it to make a few bob for local charities. I enjoy singing, but I wouldn't want to do it full time - I love what I'm doing as a priest.
He also added that if one had a gift, he was bound to use it. And Father Kelly does a great job developing his talents, inspiring others to do the same!