Priest stuns wedding with beautiful song

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Meet Meath’s ‘Singing Priest’…our new YouTube sensation

A young couple were given the ultimate wedding surprise when their priest, Father Ray Kelly gifted them with an impromptu song.

Chris and Leah O’Kane wed in his parish in Oldcastle, Co Meath, when Fr Kelly (60) burst into a customised rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ and has become an overnight YouTube sensation.

The video of him performing this version of the classing song has gone viral, receiving more than 130,000 hits on the vi site.

“I like to sing, music is part of the family, it’s always been in the genes,” he told Ryan Tubridy on 2FM.

“I worked in Dublin for awhile and had the voice trained there and I stuck at it. I was part of the priest show in Dublin may years ago in Dublin.”

Fr Kelly, from Tyrrelstown, Co Westmeath, has been singing since ‘he was a lad’ and said that he is well known throughout the parish for his songs at wedding,s funerals of while performing mass on Sunday if the mood strikes.

“This was a girl from Dublin, Leah, and her husband was from Cookstown, Co Tyrone; they weren’t from the parish at all.

“Normally for a local, couple, they’d ask me to sing at the wedding and I’d oblige, but this couple had no idea,” he told the show.

“I put on my track for Leonard Cohen [at the altar] and that’s where it took off. The wedding ceremony was over, we were about to have the final prayer and do the civil part of the ceremony.

“The responses was quite amazing – there were some standing ovations and there was a big cheer and roar.

“I wanted to make it as comfortable and enjoyable in the church for the couple.”

Fr Kelly will celebrate his 25th year as a priest this year having joined the priest later in life, after working as a civil servant in Dublin for more than a decade.


“It was a decision made over a couple of years. A few of us went to Rome in 1980 with the Irish Catholic Youth Council, about 50 in my group and three or four of us went on to become priests,” he explained.

Meanwhile, he told the Ray D’Arcy show on Today FM he believes there is a positive shift in Ireland towards the Catholic Church.

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0 responses to “Priest stuns wedding with beautiful song

  1. Father Kelly’s voice lifted me to heaven, and I wept.

  2. How lucky this parish is to have Fr Kelly!

  3. Moved me to tears! My daughter was married in Ireland 10 years ago in Mayo; loads of family and friends took the trek across the pond to attend. It is one of the most beautiful memories of my life. Her soloist was amazing, the voice of a lark. Particularly her rendition of “She Moves Through The Fair”; but Fr. Kelly’s version of “hallelujah” is unforgettable. Would love to see him more on video…… He is just what the Catholic Church needs as a goodwill ambassador! Singing is praying twice to The Lord!!!! Halluljah!

  4. BEAUTIFUL! I wept as Father Kelly sang. This is the kind of HOPE and CHANGE I want!

    • @ momofIV Your comment reminds me of a shirt I saw…. 🙂

      In the past we had:
      Ronald Regan, Johnny Cash and Bob Hope…

      Now we have:
      Obama, No Cash and no Hope…. please don’t let Kevin Bacon die!

  5. Tears of pure joy streaming down my face. 🙂 What a gift to the church this priest must be!

  6. Fr. Kelly’s Hallelujah brings to mind what St. Augustine said — that to sing is to pray twice. My best wishes to the happy couple Chris and Leah O’Kane: May your marriage be holy and may you stay true to each other for life.

    Thank you, TD, for this reminder of the sublime.

  7. The news is so dark these days. Something like this shines out God’s love and raises our hopes. 😀

  8. I have photographed hundreds of weddings, and the forty minutes or more at a Catholic wedding with a mass were always, despite work and constant pressure to get the best pictures possible (no retakes), made for some of the best times of my life. Father Kelly just reminded me why. Father, don’t quit your day (evening and night) job! Oh, you have great talent alright! It’s just that you do so much more good in the church!

  9. What a breath of fresh air that was. I always loved KD Lang’s version, but this was just as good.
    Thank you.

  10. I am sooooo happy to see many of you cried too! I sure did. If I was the bride, I would have had my face a mess with makeup running. Father Kelly gave a gift to this couple that no one ever could. I pray they stay together forever and should they have problems …….play this gift to remind of the blessed blessed day.

  11. I didn’t cry, but I was very deeply moved and filled with joy.

  12. Leeann Springer

    He has a beautiful voice and what a wonderful wedding surprise. Leeann

  13. Leeann Springer

    I listened to this several times! Just awesome. leeann


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