Father Ray Kelly, the singing Irish priest who shot to fame with his wedding ceremony cover of “Hallelujah,” will perform in New York, on Tuesday May 13, to support the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.
On April 7 a short video of the 60-year-old priest, from Oldcastle, County Meath, singing at a recent wedding ceremony went live. In just 11 days the touching video has racked up close to 30 million hits on YouTube and his fame now reaches to every corner of the earth.
As his video gathered traction online Fr Kelly was a guest on RTE’s “Late Late Show.” He told host Ryan Tubridy that he hoped his new found fame would allow him to raise money for good causes and true to his word he agreed to come to New York to perform at an Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform fund-raising cultural evening.
For one night only (May 13) Fr Kelly, and host of other Irish music talents, will perform at Town Hall, in Manhattan.
Ciaran Staunton, head of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, said, “We are so delighted that Father Kelly is reaching out and helping the Irish undocumented and their families in Ireland. He is using his recent fame exactly as a good padre should, in helping those in need, we are calling on all Irish to show up and support Father Kelly and our undocumented.”
As a parish priest in Ireland, Fr Kelly is very aware those undocumented Irish citizens who can’t travel home for family occasions such a weddings, funerals and christenings.
He told IrishCentral, "In the community, when you do the likes of weddings and funerals, you're very conscious of the relatives who are away, some of them legal, many of them not, who can't make it back. So it’s great to touch base with them and if doing this show in New York brings a little bit of Oldcastle, Co. Meath and Ireland to them, well then, that’s beautiful."
News that he’s traveling to New York has spread around Oldcastle and considering the large immigration population in the New York City he’ll have a lot of people to catch up with, it seems.
Fr Kelly said, “Since I've been telling people over the last couple of days that I'm going to New York to support the Irish immigrants there, they've all said 'Oh, I must tell so-in-so so-in-so that you're going, they'd love to see you’ and that’s wonderful.”
The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform’s evening of Irish entertainment will take place at Town Hall (W 43rd Street) on Tuesday, May 13, at 8pm. Tickets will be available at the Town Hall box office and through Ticketmaster. For inquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Father Ray Kelly’s original performance online:
Here’s Father Kelly on the “Late Late”: