The former Northern Ireland and Manchester United footballer Philip Mulryne has been ordained a priest for the Dominican Order (Order of Preachers) by Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia OP. Archbishop Augustine Di Noia is Assistant Secretary at the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and he travelled from Rome for the ordination ceremony which took place in Saint Saviour’s Church, Dominican Street, Dublin.
Father Mulryne, who is reported to have once earned £600,000 a year, has also taken a vow of poverty. Belfast-born Father Mulryne won 27 caps for Northern Ireland in a career that included spells with Norwich City and Leyton Orient.
He made his debut for Manchester United in 1997 after progressing through the youth team. He moved to Norwich City in 1999. He officially retired from football in 2009 and began his journey to ordination.
He spent two years studying philosophy at Queens University Belfast and at the Maryvale Institute before going to the Pontifical Irish College, Rome, to study theology for one year at the Gregorian University. He entered the Dominican Novitiate House in Cork in 2012.
Later in the summer Father Philip Mulryne OP will be assigned to the Dominican priory at Newbridge, Co Kildare, where he will join the chaplaincy team at Newbridge College.
In his homily at the ordination Mass Archbishop Di Noia said, “After mature deliberation, dear Brother Philip, you have shown your readiness to embrace the service to which you have been called. Whatever gain you had, you have counted as loss. 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. You are to be ordained to the priesthood so as to serve him – Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd – by whose ministry his body the Church grows into the people of God.
“You are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood. For your part you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher, and in imitation of our blessed founder, Saint Dominic. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy. 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. ”
Archbishop Di Noia continued, “As you receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders today, recall that the priesthood is at the heart of your Dominican vocation. Saint Dominic was a priest himself who had exercised his priestly ministry as a canon of the Cathedral of Osma where he also lived in community under a religious rule.
“Dear brother, your years of priestly formation unfolded in the setting of the fraternal communion of the Dominican Order. In effect, you were preparing for the priesthood at the same time you were learning to be a Dominican. This twofold formation intertwined at every point until today when, by the laying of hands, you will be made sharers in Christ’s work of mediation through which, as Saint Thomas says, you will, with Christ, both communicate “divine things to the people” and offer to God the prayers of the people and to some degree “make reparation to God for their sins” (Summa theol. 3a, 22,1). The abundance of divine grace you have received in your Dominican and priestly formation has brought you to this wonderful moment.”
Concluding his homily, Archbishop Di Noia said, “Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and who came to seek out and save what was lost. May your life be marked especially by the same fervent zeal for souls that was manifest in our Holy Father Saint Dominic and in countless other holy priests and bishops of the Order of Preachers. Make your own the stirring words of Saint Paul: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Father Mulryane will return to his native west Belfast parish to celebrate his first Mass this evening in the church of Saint Oliver Plunkett in Lenadoon.