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Ex-Manchester United star Philip Mulryne takes part in his first mass as a priest

Former Manchester United player Philip Mulryne during his inaugural mass at St Oliver Plunkett Church in West Belfast following his ordination. Credit: Press Association

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 Monday 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.

The product of the youth system at Old Trafford 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 undertook the rites associated with Catholicism, assisted by a more senior cleric, involving the blessing of sacraments, according to Catholic doctrine transforming bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

Mass-goers heard how his vocation as a friar preacher should be to "set hearts on fire" with the love of Jesus.

He was made a member of the Dominican Order at an ordination at St Saviour's church in north Dublin at the weekend.

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Liverpool landmark celebrates its 50th birthday.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Credit: pa

Major events are taking place in Liverpool to mark 50 years since the city's Catholic Cathedral first opened its doors to worshippers. The architecture of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King was considered ground- breaking in 1967.
A special mass will take place on Sunday June 4th as part of a year of Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Gospel choir warms up for Christmas

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for choirs like Manchester Inspirational Voices. They're in even greater demand having won the BBC's gospel choir of the year award for 2016. Founder and director, Wayne Ellington, has been leading the choir for 10 years and has a belief in everyone's potential to sing. We'll be hearing more about them on Granada Reports later. But for now, here's a little taster of what they can do.

Pope turns former church into Indian cathedral

St Ignatius church has been closed since December 2014 Credit: Dave Brown

A church in Lancashire that had been closed has now been declared as a new cathedral for Indian Catholics.

The Grade II-listed St Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Preston was shut in December 2014.

But it has reopened as a parish church serving an Indian branch of the Roman Catholic Church.

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New Bishop of Bolton announced

Venerable Mark David Ashcroft Credit: Diocese of Manchester

Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the Venerable Mark David Ashcroft, Archdeacon of Manchester, to be the next Bishop of Bolton in the Diocese of Manchester.

Oxford educated Mark, 61, has served as the Archdeacon of Manchester and Residentiary Canon of Manchester Cathedral since 2009.

He will be consecrated in October at York Minster by the Archbishop of York and take up his appointment in November.

Mark is married with three adult children.

Watch Elaine Willcox's report on Ramadan

It is almost half way through Ramadan for many muslims who have been fasting in the region.

During the holy month those observing the fast can't eat or drink during daylight - which at the moment is about 17 hours.

Prayer and giving to charity are important aspects of the month, and Muslim families and community groups have once again encouraged people of different faiths to share Ramadan with them, as our correspondent Elaine Willcox reports.

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