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Former Man United footballer to become a priest

By on Friday, 27 January 2012

Mulryne during his Manchester United days (Tom Honan/EMPICS Sport)

Mulryne during his Manchester United days (Tom Honan/EMPICS Sport)

A former Manchester United footballer is training to become a priest. Phil Mulryne, who was once a teammate of Ryan Giggs and David Beckham, has enrolled at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.

The former Northern Ireland international midfielder was invited into the priesthood by Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor after leaving the sport and becoming involved in charitable activities.

Mulryne, 34, began his career with the Manchester United youth team in 1994, but despite great talent found it hard to find a first team place in one of the most famous English league sides of all times, with Beckham, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt all playing in similar positions. He joined Norwich in 1999 and eventually had spells with Ipswich Town, Barnsley, Leyton Orient and Polish side Legia Warsaw.

During his time as a footballer Mulryne dated a model, Nicola Chapman, and was once sent home from the Northern Ireland squad in 2005 after breaking a curfew to go drinking. His career was cut short in 2008 by injury, and he decided to return to Ireland.

However since returning home and becoming involved in charity work he turned his life around. Former Norwich teammate Paul McVeigh said he had visited his friend in Rome and was surprised by the change.

Mr McVeigh said: “To my amazement, and most likely to the rest of the footballing fraternity’s, Phil decided to train to become a Catholic priest.

“I was still in contact with him and knew that he had turned his life around and was doing a lot of charitable work and helping the homeless on a weekly basis. Still, it was a complete shock that he felt this was his calling.

“I know for a fact that this is not something he took lightly as the training to be ordained as a Catholic priest consists of a two-year philosophy degree, followed by a four-year theology degree and only after that will he finally be qualified as a priest.

“When I arrived in Rome, I was met by a very contented-looking Phil who took me back to the Irish college where he was to be based for the next four years.”

Mulryne’s mother Sally said the decision to follow his vocation was a “big decision”.

  • http://www.laici.va/ Fr Kevin Lixey LC

    Great News for Ireland and for Church and Sport relations
    We welcome Phil to this year’s Clericus Cup!  

  • Manny

    This is great news! Good for you Paul! I’m a Man U supporter hete in Texas, and am also Catholic.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing. This gives me more hope for the Priesthood!

  • Guest

    I don’t follow soccer, but I’m pretty sure this is a good thing. ;)

  • Anonymous

    I remember seeing Paul McVeigh a lot when I lived in Norwich. He attended the 7.30am daily Mass during Lent and seemed to dedicate a lot of his time to his faith. 

    It’s good to know that his friend, Paul Mulryne, is now testing a vocation to the priesthood. My prayers go with them both.

  • Jameshughes1947

    This is great news particularly when you read of the bad boy behaviour of some leading footballers. I will pray that he is able to truly discover his vocation. AMDG

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    JESUS SAID TO ONE YOUNG MAN, “LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD, BUT YOU GO

    AND PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”

    ANYONE WHO IS CALLED BY JESUS SHOULD YEARN AND PRAY FOR THIS MOST

    WONDERFUL GIFT OF APOSTLESHIP (TYPICAL EXAMPLE : ST. PAUL WHO WAS NOT FROM

    JESUS’ 12 SPECIALLY CHOSEN ONES). APOSTLES ONLY ARE EMPOWERED  BY JESUS  TO

    PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD THROUGH HIS HOLY SPIRIT

    .

    MERELY BECOMING A PRIEST TO PERFORM THE RITUALS OF THE DEAD IS A CURSE FOR

    THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.
    .

    LOOK AT THE CHURCH IN EUROPE TODAY!

    PRIESTS WHO PERFORM ONLY THE RITUALS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DECAY AND

    DEATH OF THE CHURCH IN THE CONTINENT OF EUROPE. SUCH PRIESTS USUALLY  END UP

    AS MONEY COUNTERS AND MERE CONTROLLERS OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD.  THEIR

    PHILOSOPHY, THEOLOGY AND THE REST ALL ARE GEARED TO THAT END.THEY LIVE A LIFE

    MAKING THE BEST OF BOTH THE WORLD; BEING CLEVER IS THE ONLY THING THAT COUNTS

    WITH THEM AND NOT FOLLOWING JESUS OR BELONGING TO HIM.

    ON ANOTHER OCCASION JESUS SAID, “WILL THERE BE FAITH LEFT ON EARTH WHEN THE

    SON OF MAN COMES?”

    GOD AS HE IS IN PERSON HE SAW THROUGH WHAT CLEVER AND

    THE LEARNED ( MUCH OF THE OFFICIAL CHURCH IS MADE UP OF SUCH MEN)

    WOULD DO TO DESTROY HIS CHURCH.

    Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

  • Nicholas Okafor

    This shows that there is no hide-out if God wants one to work for Him as a priest or any other vocation! Welcome Phil to the “family of Seminarians”. May God grant you all the necessary virtues to make it to the end!!! Nicholas Okafor (Seminarian of the Holy Spirit Seminary, Queensland, Australia).

  • Anonymous

    The dead burying the dead (evil-doers destroy themselves) are those who reject Christ – not those who devote their lives to spreading his Word. The same theme (leaving evil-doers to themselves) is expressed where Jesus advises his disciples to shake the dust from their sandals as they leave those who refuse to listen. – as a sign to them. This lad has embarked on a life of charitable service. I can’t see why anyone would have a problem with that.

  • Naijifeiyan

    I thought something more important is to pray for the brothers whom you might concern.

  • Conrycol

    A big encouragement to young seminarians coming up. 

  • Zoran Primorac

    God bless him

  • Justusat

    Such is life. Once you are called, there is no turning back. Through his dedication to do the will of God, many souls will be saved. Remember, God reigns for ever.