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Priest played The Sash at Mass for joke, says nephew

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Father Jimmy McPhillips

Father Jimmy McPhillips

Father Jimmy McPhillips

The nephew of a Fermanagh priest who shot to online fame after playing The Sash during Sunday morning Mass has insisted he was in on the joke all along.

Father Jimmy McPhillips became an unlikely viral hit after the video clip was widely shared online.

The incident happened at Holy Cross Church in Lisnaskea as the service was live streamed to his congregation.

Speaking to UTV, Garbhan McPhillips said: "He meant it as a bit of craic and that's why it was so well received."

He continued: "I always say, being biased (with) him being my uncle, he's a great modern day priest. He's so connected to the community, so down to earth when it comes to situations like this.

"He didn't expect it to go viral, but it's happened and that's why we're here."

Asked why Fr McPhillips was still keeping a low profile during his new found celebrity, Mr McPhillips said: "I'll not forgive him for that one. He gets all the hits every weekend during his sermon so he felt like he's had enough of publicity, so he thought he'd send the nephew off to do his dirty work."

He added: "I'm more than happy to do it because it's spreading that positive message - and why not?"

It's not just church-goers who have found the humour in the unlikely clip, with a number of Orange lodges even singing the priest's praises.

Locals also brushed off the musical faux pas as welcome entertainment after two months of lockdown.

One man told UTV: "I didn't see any madness or any harm in it. Jimmy is good craic. There's a bit of banter with him so it doesn't surprise me."

Another woman said it was "typical Canon Jimmy, up for the craic".

Her friend commented: "He's full of fun, loves a bit of banter. I just laughed because I knew what he was doing, that's Father Jimmy. I've known him all my lifetime."

Belfast Telegraph