Catholic priest in Northern Ireland raises spirits with hilarious prank on parishioners watching online
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Catholic priest in Northern Ireland raises spirits with hilarious prank on parishioners watching online

A CATHOLIC priest in County Fermanagh came up with an amusing way to entertain his parishioners watching online as he gave his final blessing. 

Canon Jimmy McPhillips was eager to lift spirits among those worshipping remotely from home during lockdown and came up with a corker of a gag for his service last Sunday. 

As he gave the final blessing last Sunday, the opening bars of The Sash blasted out of a nearby speaker. 

“Sorry, that was the wrong one.”  Canon McPhillips mumbled into a microphone after “accidentally” playing the start of the song. 

"Sorry about that - a bit early for that isn't it?" he added, before switching the track to “Footprints in the Sand” by Leona Lewis and making a hasty exit. 

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Many initially thought Canon McPhillips had mistakenly played the track, which refers to the collarettes worn by the Orange Order and is associated with historical Protestant victories in Ireland including the Battle of the Boyne. 

However, the Catholic priest has since confirmed to the BBC that the mistake was, in fact, at attempt to “lift people’s spirits” and provide some respite from other events in the news. 

But while the joke was an intended one, the reaction has taken Canon McPhillips by surprise with the Man of the Cloth explaining he has been “shocked” by the attention it has received. 

Originally intended as a joke to be shared among his parishioners, he has described the reaction since the clip went viral as "off the Richter scale". 

His nephew, Garbhan McPhillips, told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme: "He always tries to bring a bit of happiness and a bit of life to his Masses and sermons.

"And as things have progressed throughout this pandemic his services have moved online - he tries to make things a wee bit brighter for people out there tuning in.

"At the end of his Mass he would give a run down of his week, tells a few stories and jokes."

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