Fr. Ray Kelly of County Meath, Ireland, surprised an out-of-town couple who didn't know of his singing prowess with an absolutely beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, replete with verses specific to the bride and groom.
Several things to love about this story:
- That the priest sang to delight his congregation: "I enjoy singing but I wouldn't want to do it full time - I love what I'm doing as a priest."
- That his efforts were so well received: by the wedding goers, who gave him a standing ovation, and by the world: with nearly 5.4 million views so far on youtube.
- That he presented such a joyful and loving image of priesthood.
Thank you, Father Ray.
Here is more from a BBC story:
"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," he said.
"They were having their reception at a hotel about 10 miles away and chose our church.
"We had the rehearsal on Thursday evening and at the end I said, 'sure maybe I'll sing an aul song for you myself' - Leah grinned and said 'OK sure' but I don't think she was taking it too seriously."
Fr Kelly changed the original lyrics to be more suitable for a wedding. It begins: "We join together here today, to help two people on their way."
Fr Kelly is a trained singer who is currently working on his third album.
"The way I look at it is, it's a gift one has, and if you have a gift you use it."