Britain’s Got Talent singing priest hopes Pope will spark new vocations in Ireland

Britain's Got Talent

The most famous singing priest of Ireland discerned his call after St. John Paul II’s visit to the country in 1979. He hopes that Pope Francis’s trip in August will also spark new vocations.

“I suppose people are a bit down over the Church. Certainly, vocations are down,” says Father Ray Kelly, the 65 year-old pastor of St. Brigid′s & St. Mary′s parish at Oldcastle, County Meath.

“I am hoping Pope Francis, when he comes next month, will help,” he said, pondering that the situation of Catholic Ireland is actually “a lot better than the media portrays.”

Kelly went viral on the Internet the first time in 2014, after singing an adapted version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” song in a wedding.

It was supposedly just another wedding day in his church, but the video surprisingly got more than 64 million views on YouTube.

More recently, Kelly resurfaced on social media for his participation in the reality show “Britain’s Got Talent.”

The priest got a standing ovation for a moving version of “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.

He did not go through to the final of the TV show – when he planned to sing Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – but he was happy to get to the semi-finals.

Above all, Kelly believes the experience made him not only an Internet sensation, but also transformed his ministry.

He has been reaching out to people who suffer and motivating them to “hold on.”

“One particular lady sent me an e-mail. She was suffering from chronic pain for years and she had her suicide letter written. She told me: ‘I happened to go to YouTube and see you singing ‘Everybody Hurts,’ and the Holy Spirit just came over me. I am living with pain, but I am also living with hope,’” he says. Continue reading

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