Should Fr Ray Kelly have been included among the Irish performers entertaining Pope Francis in Croke Park in August?
The Irish singing priest who reached international fame after a video of him singing at a wedding went viral has voiced his disappointment at not being chosen to perform for Pope Francis during his August visit to Ireland.
Fr Ray Kelly is the famous Irish singing priest who became a viral sensation in 2014 when a recording of him singing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at a wedding received over 60 million views on Youtube.
Since then, he appeared on the 2018 edition of English show Britain’s Got Talent, reaching the semi-finals. The 64-year-old parish priest in Oldcastle, Co Meath, was even described by the show’s boss and famous tough guy Simon Cowell as one of his “favorite ever auditions” after Fr Kelly floored the judges with his rendition of REM’s “Everybody Hurts.”
When the entertainment line-up for the Pope Francis concert in Croke Park taking place during his Irish visit in August was announced, however, Fr Kelly was not included among the list of performers that includes Riverdance, Daniel O’Donnell and Nathan Carter.
"It would be one of the greatest pleasures of my life to sing for the Pope," Fr Kelly told Irish radio talk show host Joe Duffy.
"I could sing Hallelujah which has 62 million hits online and 'Everybody Hurts' which has almost 8 million hits. I actually recorded it (the song) 4 years ago on my album as well, I've recorded that song, I'm not sure if Nathan Carter has recorded that song."
The inclusion of Irish country singer Daniel O’Donnell in the concert is also causing a bit of a stir after his support of same-sex marriage in the 2015 referendum.
"I feel Daniel O'Donnell's Yes stance in the Gay Marriage Referendum was directly opposed to the Catholic Church here,” Irish country and gospel singer James Kilbane said.
“I believe Daniel O'Donnell Yes stance influenced many voters to vote Yes in the Marriage Referendum. I think this was anti-Catholic. I do believe Daniel O'Donnell influenced many Catholics.”
Pope Francis will visit Ireland later this year on the first papal visit since Pope John Paul II's historic trip to the country in 1979. He will be in Dublin as part of the 9th World Meeting of Families (WMOF) which will take place from the 21-26 August.
The two main events that the pontiff will attend are the 'Festival of Families' in Croke Park on August 25, and the 'Final Mass' in Phoenix Park on August 26. hile both of these events are free, tickets and registration are essential according to the World Meeting of Families website.
A Facebook group was recently criticized for encouraging people to register for tickets in protest when they have no intention of attending either of the events.
Others are welcoming the visit, however, such as Irish discount store Dealz which has created “Lollipopes” along with other decorations for the event.
What do you make of the line-up for the Croke Park concert? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, below.