Fr Ray Kelly is to move to the Kilcormac, Rahan and Eglish parishes

'Singing priest' to serve in Offaly parish

Fr Ray Kelly, known as 'the singing priest' following an appearance on 'Britain's Got Talent', is leaving his role as parish priest of Oldcastle to become Associate Pastor in Kilcormac, Rahan and Eglish parishes in Offaly, resident in Kilcormac.

The Diocese of Meath announced the clerical changes over the weekend, and the appointments will take effect on Saturday, July 1.

He is being succeeded in Oldcastle by Fr Mark Mohan, the current parish priest of Ballivor and Kildalkey, which is to lose a parish priest and be incorporated into Athboy parish, with Fr Padraig McMahon, PP, Athboy to be Adm, Ballivor and Kildalkey. Fr Ciaran Clarke, CC, Ashbourne is to be CC, Ballivor and Kildalkey.

The other changes in the diocese are: Fr Conor Magee, CC Multyfarnham is to be PP, Multyfarnham; Fr Ciprian Solomon, CC, St Mary’s, Drogheda, is to to be CC, Mornington; Fr Derek Ryan, CssR, to be CC, Holy Family, Drogheda and CC, Saint Mary’s, Drogheda; Fr Brendan O’Rourke, IVE, CC Holy Family, Drogheda to be CC, Ashbourne; Fr. Stephen Kennedy, IVE, CC Holy Family, Drogheda to be CC, Ashbourne; Fr Joseph Apust, CC, Mornington, to return to Minna Diocese; Fr Emmanuel Ibitoye, CC, Mornington (Minna Diocese) to be AP, Saint Mary’s, Drogheda.

Born in Tyrrellspass, Co Westmeath, in 1953, Ray Kelly (above), was ordained in 1989, and served as curate in St Mary's in Navan for a period, and in Rahan, before his appointment as parish priest of Oldcastle in 2006.

In April 2014, he was officiating at a wedding in St Brigid’s Church where he sang a version of Leonard Cohen’s classic song ‘Hallelujah’. The words had been specially adapted for the occasion by the happy couple’s bridesmaid. It was uploaded to YouTube and quickly went viral, viewed more than 60 million times.

He was inundated with messages of goodwill and, in December 2014, he recorded a 10-track album titled ‘Where I Belong’. In December 2015, he featured as a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek programme, and then auditioned for the 12th series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. His rendition of ‘Everybody Hurts’ by REM saw a standing ovation.