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Dec 2016

A DIFFERENT CALLING

A Sehion Youth Team member reflects on footballer Philip Mulryne’s decision to become a Dominican priest.

Professional Football

Philip Mulryne was once a well known name among football fans but he has recently made the headlines for a very different reason. In his long football career Philip played alongside David Beckham and Ryan Giggs and was capped for Northern Ireland twenty seven times. The mid fielder started playing for the Manchester United youth team in 1994 before graduating to the men’s side. In a team full of great players he only managed to play a few first team games before joining Norwich City in 1999 where he went on to make more than one hundred and fifty appearances for the Canaries. After joining Norwich, he made a promising start, but a serious injury ruled him out for some time. He enjoyed the lifestyle that came with the fame of being a professional footballer, and at one time he was sent home from the Northern Ireland squad by the manager for breaking a curfew, missing two important international matches. Like many sportsmen, during his playing career Philip suffered a number of injuries and finally in 2008 he had to retire from the game.

A New Vocation

Throughout his football career there were many ups and downs and Philip’s Catholic faith helped him to thank God for the many opportunities he was given and it gave him hope for something greater. After hanging up his boots, Philip worked with a number of charities that helped the poor, especially the homeless, recognising that God gave us a spirit of love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). In retirement Philip also began to feel a different call on his life. He felt that God wanted him to become a Catholic priest. He decided to join the Dominican Order who follow the teachings of St Dominic. In an interview Philip said, “To give oneself completely to God through the profession of the evangelical councils, 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. This for me is the ideal of Dominican life and one of the major reasons that attracted me to the order.”

When The Lord Calls

Philip chose to turn away from a life-style of dating glamourous models and partying to serving the Lord with his whole heart. Most of his teammates were puzzled when they found out that he had given up fame and the celebrity culture in order to pursue the vows of poverty and chastity. One of them said, “It was a complete shock that Philip felt that this was his calling but I know that it is not something that he did lightly.” After years of studying and formation Philip was ordained as a Deacon on 30th October 2016 on his journey to become a Dominican priest.

Transformed By Grace

Philip has said that the main thing that attracted him to the priesthood is the idea of giving himself completely to God. He is a humble man and mirroring what St Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, he added that despite his weaknesses, he trusts that the Grace of God can transform him to communicate the joy of the Gospel to everyone he meets. He has declared that his hope is not in the luxuries of this world. His hope is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. Philip’s decision to respond to God’s call on his life reminds us that the crown of life that Jesus promises to those who follow Him is far more valuable to us than any premiership trophies and to gain it we need to run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2) Let us pray for Philip and for all men who are in formation for the priesthood.

Philip has said that the main thing that attracted him to the priesthood is the idea of giving himself completely to God.

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