A young priest with musical skills helps an old priest whose church is in financial difficulties.
Ted Haines Sr. (Gene Lockhart) tells Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald) he must pay the church mortgage or face foreclosure, but Ted Haines Jr. (James Brown) urges his father to be lenient. Father Chuck O'Malley (Bing Crosby) arrives and plays baseball with kids, who break a window. O'Malley gets wet and changes to a sweat-suit before he meets Fitzgibbon, who shows him the church. O'Malley tells his friend Tim O'Dowd (Frank McHugh) that he is in charge but won't tell Fitzgibbon. Young Ted Haines tells O'Malley that Mrs. Quimp owes six months rent, and O'Malley helps her. Fitzgibbon and O'Malley eat the turkey that Tony Scaponi (Stanley Clements) and his gang stole. A policeman brings Carol James (Jean Heather) to O'Malley and says she left home. Carol sings "The Day After Forever," and O'Malley coaches her. She declines housework that Fitzgibbon offers, and O'Malley loans her $10.
O'Malley asks Tony's gang to sing in the choir. Fitzgibbon tells his housekeeper that he wants O'Malley transferred. O'Malley teaches the boys "Silent Night." Fitzgibbon returns from the bishop and tells O'Malley he asked him to put O'Malley in charge. The housekeeper tells O'Malley that Fitzgibbon packed and left. In the rain O'Malley asks the police to help him find Fitzgibbon, who is brought back and given a dinner and a drink with O'Malley, who sings "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra."
O'Malley sees Genevieve Linden (Rise Stevens) on the street, and she takes him to the opera where she stars. She realizes her friend is a priest and sings Carmen. Mrs. Quimp tells the two priests that young Ted has been visiting Carol's apartment. O'Malley calls on Carol and Ted, who lets her stay in the apartment and bought her a piano. O'Malley sings "Going My Way."
Tim O'Dowd brings Genevieve to Fitzgibbon, who sells her raffle tickets. She, O'Malley, and the boys sing "Ave Maria." Tim tells O'Malley that his song was rejected, but Genevieve likes it. The senior Haines calls on Carol and finds Ted in a robe and married. Young Ted puts on his army uniform and says goodbye to Carol and his father. Tim calls Max (William Frawley) about the O'Malley's song being performed at the Met by Genevieve, but Max says it is not for him. O'Malley sings "Swinging on a Star" with the boys, and Max says he will buy it. Tim invites Max to church. In his sermon Fitzgibbon asks for money, and his church gets what it needs. O'Malley and Tim play golf with Fitzgibbon.
A fire burns down the church. O'Malley gives Fitzgibbon medicine and says the choir is touring with Genevieve, who sent $3500. O'Malley tells Fitzgibbon that he is being transferred to a troubled church. Tony says goodbye to O'Malley and is put in charge of the choir. Haines is giving Fitzgibbon a new mortgage, and Tim is replacing O'Malley. In the final scene Fitzgibbon's mother arrives from Ireland.
This sentimental musical comedy suggests that priests
can change with the times and still be helping people to be happy.