Our School Namesake - Father Michael (Catfish) Mireau
Who Is Michael Mireau
Michael Mireau was born May 11, 1972 in Edmonton, Alberta to Linda and Maurice Mireau. A big brother to Laura and David, he excelled early at academics, music and illustration. Combined with a natural gift for storytelling, Michael further developed his interest in drawing by completing literally hundreds of comic strips by the time he had finished junior high. His self-enforced work ethic saw him produce a complete cartoon each week for years.
His creativity was complimented by an agile and analytical mind, and this led him to initially pursue mathematics during his university undergraduate career. In 1997, his strong work in that field allowed him to also complete a Masters in Science in Mathematical Physics at the University of Alberta.
Michael first became known as Catfish at Camp Encounter in 1994. It was a nickname that harkened back to a character he had drawn in the cartoons of his early youth. From 1995 to 1998, he served as Spiritual Director for the Camp, and it was in this capacity that he learned to merge his faith, love of pop culture, humor and creativity to powerfully connect young people with their beliefs. This trademark skill, honed for the rest of his lifetime, always influenced and inspired.
His formative summers at Camp clearly revealed his calling. In 1997, he entered St. Joseph Seminary to complete his Masters of Divinity.
On June 5, 2001, he was ordained to the Diaconate. In 2002, after his ordination to the Presbyterate, he began his work as Associate Pastor at St. Theresa’s Parish. In 2004, he became the Pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in Leduc as well as Our Lady of Victory Parish in Thorsby. He served there until 2009 when he was moved to serve the community of St. Angela Parish for a year before becoming the very first District Chaplain of Edmonton Catholic Schools – as well as the Chaplain of St. Francis Xavier High School.
All the while, Father Michael Mireau continued to develop his skills as a musician, communicator, entertainer and spiritual leader. He embraced the idea of performance as the basis of his ministry. He contextualized religious thought in popular culture – making the Gospel and Church accessible to all generations of parishioners.
His website, FatherCatfish.com, became another means to reach new audiences with his message of love. Echoing his childhood commitment to creativity combined with hard work, Father Michael Mireau published Catholic resources and weekly online videos that touched on everything from superheroes to Star Wars to heartfelt answers to challenging spiritual questions. Behind it all was his unending desire to communicate and to connect with the disconnected, the marginalized, the quirky and the unloved.
Father Michael “Catfish” Mireau was a man who loved deeply, was courageous in his beliefs and was unflinchingly real in his practice. He always cared for others, and he served every day like the superheroes he invoked in countless homilies. Above all, he believed that his work mattered – and it did to so many.
God is Love.
Written by: James Mireau & Heather Kaup