A singing priest whose amazing voice and customized "Hallelujah" brought a bride and groom to tears last week is now a viral sensation on YouTube with his performance drawing some 8.5 million views.
Father Ray Kelly, a priest at a church in Ireland's County Meath, wed Leah and Chris O'Kane over the weekend and decided to surprise the couple with a rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" complete with tailor-made lyrics.
"We had the rehearsal on Thursday evening, and at the end I said, 'Sure maybe I'll sing a song for you myself,'" Kelly told BBC Radio.
"Leah grinned and said, 'OK, sure,' but I don't think she was taking it too seriously."
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Kelly's pitch-perfect voice and compelling lyrics brought both the bride and groom to tears and touched millions of viewers all over the world who watched the performance online.
"I knew somebody had taken a video, but I’ve been absolutely flabbergasted by the response, and there has been a fair demand for me to perform now it is online," Kelly told The Irish Times
. "I’ve only been on YouTube once or twice in my life so it was a surprise to see the video and see how many views it has, I’ve been floored by the reaction."
In addition to serving as a priest for the last 25 years, Kelly has also recorded two albums for charity. He's currently working on a third.
"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 is, it's a gift one has, and if you have a gift you use it."
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