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Monday 22 January 2018

Former soccer star Philip goes up for the cross

Philip Mulryne at his inaugural Mass. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA
Philip Mulryne at his inaugural Mass. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer ordained to the priesthood has taken part in his first Mass.

Philip Mulryne (39) returned to his native Belfast for a special Catholic religious service at St Oliver Plunkett Church.

The new priest was joined by friends and well-wishers at last night's Mass - just a few miles from Windsor Park stadium, where he once donned the green jersey of his home country - flanked by white-robed members of his order.

A product of the youth system at Old Trafford, he made his debut for the first team in 1997.

He was unable to secure a regular place in Alex Ferguson's side and left Manchester to continue his playing career at clubs including Norwich City, Cardiff City and Leyton Orient.

The clergyman said his vocation was a calling.

"This is a new chapter now in my life," he said.

He undertook the rites assisted by a more senior cleric. Mass-goers heard how his vocation as a friar preacher should be to "set hearts on fire" with the love of Jesus.

Irish Independent

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