Singing Irish priest Youtube video: Father Kelly's Hallelujah rendition at couple's wedding

Published 10 April 2014  |  

An Irish priest is fast on his way to becoming an internet sensation as his candid performance of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah has gone viral, racking up over 2.7 million hits on YouTube.

Father Ray Kelly, a trained singer who is well known locally for his talent, took to the pulpit during a wedding at his church in County Meath and surprised guests with a beautiful rendition of the 1984 hit, changing the original lyrics to mark the special occasion.

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

"And now we've reached their special date, we've come to help them celebrate and show them how much we love all them too, yeah," he continued, before finishing the song to rapturous applause from the stunned congregation, and leaving the bridal couple in tears.

Father Ray has said he enjoyed surprising guests with the impromptu song. "I enjoy singing but I wouldn't want to do it full time – I love what I'm doing as a priest," he told the BBC.

"The way I look at it, it's a gift one has, and if you have a gift you use it."

His singing has received rave reviews on social media. The BBC's Berra Best tweeted: "What a voice! County #Meath priest amazes wedding couple with epic version of Hallelujah."

Reverend Sally Hitchiner joined in the applause, suggesting that secular songs can have a significant place within the Church. "Singing priest's Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah wows wedding guests - I've used this song before - builds bridges!" she tweeted.

Father Ray is currently recording his third album, which he says he hopes will "make a few bob for local charities".

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