Father Ray Kelly received a thunderous standing ovation from his parishioners in County Meath after his “Britain’s Got Talent” debut.

The Irish parish priest who wowed Simon Cowell and the judges of “Britain’s Got Talent” at the weekend got a thunderous welcome home with a standing ovation from his parishioners after 11.30 mass in Oldcastle, County Meath.

Father Ray Kelly’s version of REM’s Everybody Hurts was so well received that Cowell said it was one of the greatest auditions he had ever seen.

Read more: Irish priest stuns Simon Cowell, judges with amazing version of “Everybody Hurts”

Speaking to The Irish Times on Sunday, Fr Kelly said “I’m just out of 11.30am Mass, people were in congratulating me, they gave me a big round of applause in the church this morning.”

“I’ve always loved to sing and perform, and I do it in church here all the time with Mass, but I never thought it would reach this.

Simon Cowell said on the night “This is one of my favorite ever auditions”

“I think your voice is beautiful, I loved the version of the song, this is everything we’ve been waiting for. I absolutely loved it,”

Fr Kelly said he was “blown away” by the comments.

“I didn’t know what to expect from the judges or anything, you know when you go out and do something like that.

“I was really blown away by Simon’s comments and David, Alesha and Amanda. They gave me the height of praise which was fantastic to get.”

Fr Kelly said the REM song about loneliness and hanging in is “a song near and dear to my heart”.

“I thought maybe I could be the first singing priest to win Britain’s Got Talent,” he told the judges.

Read more: Singing priest Father Ray Kelly before his YouTube fame