Christmas carols aren’t supposed to have lyrics like “revenge is like the sweetest joy…” but that’s exactly what churchgoers in Sri Lanka saw in booklets at a carol service on December 11.
What they expected was the words to the Hail Mary, a common Christian prayer. What they got instead was the profanity-laced lyrics to rap legend Tupac Shakur’s Hail Mary.
Andrew Choksy, who attended the Joy to the World service where the lyrics were distributed, said he recognized the Tupac song straight away.
“A lot of people were in shock as whether it was a joke or someone would actually rap the song,” he told CNN. “A few of the older ladies in front of us could not stop looking at the printed booklet.”
The rap version of Hail Mary contains lyrics about explicit violence, references to female genitalia and the N-word.
Instead of the traditional “Hail Mary full of grace, the lord is with thee,” Tupac’s version asks Mary, “Do you want to ride or die?”
The event was advertised as “a festival of music for peace and harmony.”
The cover of the hymn service, where misprinted lyrics to "Hail Mary" were used, in Colombo on December 11.
The cover of the hymn service, where misprinted lyrics to “Hail Mary” were used, in Colombo on December 11.
Priest apologizes for mistake
The Sri Lanka event, which was held in the capital Colombo, was organized by the Archdiocese of Colombo and the Joseph Vaz Trust.
Father Da Silva, from the archdiocese, told CNN once organizers realized the mistake they asked for the books back.
“The page was in the middle of the booklet. When people looked at this page, they saw it before the start of the show. Two people saw it and alerted us to it,” he said.
Father Da Silva said the printer had been a “young boy” who had simply downloaded the wrong version of the song.
“We are very sorry to say that this happened,” he said.