Edmonton community says goodbye to Father Mike ‘Catfish’ Mireau

Watch above: Hundreds of people gathered at St. Joseph’s Basilica Friday morning to say goodbye to a popular Edmonton priest. Erin Chalmers reports.

EDMONTON – It was standing room only at St. Joseph’s Basilica Friday morning, as hundreds of people came together to remember Father Mike Mireau, or Father Catfish as he was known to his students.

Father Mike was the district chaplain of Edmonton Catholic Schools. He passed away Monday night at the age of 42 after battling cancer since February 2013.

Whether it was relating religion to superheroes or Star Wars characters, Father Mike’s ability to talk with young people — and actually have them truly listen — is what some say set him apart.

“Calling Father Michael Mireau ‘unique’ is a masterpiece of understatement,” said Archbishop Richard Smith, who presided over the funeral mass.

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Father Mike’s funeral at St. Joseph’s Basilica on Friday.
Father Mike’s funeral at St. Joseph’s Basilica on Friday. Charles Taylor, Global News

“He had an unmatched ability to connect with our beloved young people. He went where the young are to be found, and he entered their world.”

Father Mike regularly reached out to youth on social media and candidly shared his battle with cancer in a series of web videos.

“He was like the world’s oldest teenager and he was as mature as like a 60-year-old man,” said Brett Fawcett, who attended the funeral.

Throughout Friday morning’s service, many tears were shed. But there was also a lot of laughter and joy, as the archbishop talked about Father Mike’s ponytail, the Superman sweatshirt you could often find him wearing, and his dog Nemo that was often by his side.

“Imagine the perfect role model that you want for your kids and your brother, and everybody. He’s that perfect role model. He was our Superman, that’s for sure,” said Victor Eguren-Achaiz.

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Not only will Father Mike Mireau forever be remembered in the minds of those who met him, but Edmonton Catholic Schools also announced earlier this week it will be naming a school after him.

People are invited to share their condolences in our comments section below.

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