Ordained a priest, former Manchester United footballer's goal is Christ
DUBLIN, Ireland – Former Irish soccer pro Philip Mulryne was ordained a priest of the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans, on Saturday.
Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., an assistant secretary at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ordained him to the priesthood at Dublin’s Saint Saviour’s Church July 8.
“In a real sense, your experience as an athlete has helped to prepare you for this moment: you have known the meaning of working hard to attain a goal, and now the goal is Christ,” Archbishop Di Noia said at the ordination Mass, according to The Irish News.
“Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy,” the archbishop continued. “Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practice what you teach.”
As a Dominican, the new priest has professed vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.
He will join the chaplaincy at Newbridge College in Ireland’s County Kildare. He said his first Mass Monday at his home parish of St. Oliver Plunkett Church in the Lenadoon area of Belfast.
In a video interview published by the U.K. newspaper Daily Mail in 2016, Mulryne said he was attracted by the ideals of the Dominican life: “To give oneself completely to God through the profession of the evangelical counsels, to take him as our example and despite our weakness and our defects, trust in Him that he will transform us by his grace, and thus being transformed, communicate the joy in knowing him to everyone we meet.”
Father Mulryne’s soccer career began when a talent scout for the prominent Manchester United Football Club saw him play for his parish soccer team and invited the then-14-year-old to try out for the club’s youth team.
He played soccer for Manchester United for only one game in 1997, sharing the field with star David Beckham. He later moved to the Norwich City club. The Irish native, born in Belfast, brought fame to Northern Ireland’s international team by achieving 27 caps – international appearances – in his athletic career. His career earnings topped $775,000.
After suffering major injuries in 2008, he began to question how he would spend his days after his 2009 retirement.
Fellow soccer pro Paul McVeigh told the U.K. newspaper the Catholic Herald that Mulryne began to engage in charitable work and helped the homeless on a weekly basis.
Bishop Noel Treanor of the Diocese of Down and Connor became influential in his life and later invited him to enter the seminary. He first entered the diocesan seminary at Saint Malachy’s Belfast.
He began studies at the Irish Pontifical College in Rome in 2009, then entered the Dominican Novitiate House in Cork in 2012.
On Oct. 30, 2016, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin ordained him a deacon in Belfast.
The Irish Dominicans welcomed his ordination to the priesthood.
“We rejoice with Fr. Philip and his family on this beautiful day. Please keep Fr. Philip O.P. in your prayers as he starts the next step of his life as a Dominican in his priestly vocation!” the Irish Dominicans said on their website July 8.