About Fr. Michel

I was born in Appleton, Wisconsin and have degrees in religious studies and French from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, with master’s work at St. Norbert College, and also at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa. I have worked as a parish musician for decades and have worked in pastoral ministry for more than 30 years, many of those years as director of religious education.  I first professed as a Benedictine in 1982 as an oblate, then later as novice, taking final vows in July of 2009.  My parish work includes many ministries including music, liturgy, and director of vocations for a large Midwestern diocese.  Honoring my Benedictine heritage, I am a spiritual director/companion.

I have 3 sons, Chris, Phil and Stefan. Phil and Stefan both live in Michigan and Chris rests in the heart of God.

I wrestled for 40 plus years with the idea that I was called to be a priest. Through many years of study and active ministry in the Roman church, I struggled with the official policies when human lives were being treated with disregard and a lack of compassion. I longed for a Church that was consistent with the vision of Vatican Council II and allowed latitude when dealing with pastoral issues.  As the Roman church continued to ossify during recent decades, I became more and more disillusioned.  Ultimately I found a home in the independent Catholic movement in an attempt to truly live in moral consonance with my conscience.  Like all priests ordained by Orthodox and/or Old Catholic bishops, my ordination to priesthood is deemed valid by the Roman Catholic Church, though I have no juridical ties to either Rome or the local Roman diocese.  I am not completely comfortable with this state of affairs, but on the other hand, it has allowed me to minister freely and in good conscience for the first time in my life.   People otherwise denied the sacraments are coming home and finding the truth that God loves them just as they are.  This is an exciting time to be a priest!

Currently, I am founding pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Community in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and also acting pastor of Grace St. John’s United Church of Christ–an historic first for any Catholic priest!  Opening oneself without reservation to God’s call brings upheaval and uncertainty, yes, but it also brings power and grace.  And for that, I am humbly and eternally grateful.

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16 Responses to About Fr. Michel

  1. kbpipes says:

    I am so glad to have found your blog. I to have studied theology and am struggling to find my place in the church. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    Blessings
    Kirk

  2. Fr.Michael, Help me to be like you.

  3. kbpipes says:

    Hey Father,

    I hope all is well with you. I just wanted to stop in and say you are in my thoughts and prayers. Something is wrong with the email address I have for you. The emails I have sent you have seem to come back to me.

    Keep up the good work

    Kirk

  4. JessQ says:

    I was in the seminary also here in the Philippines from 1966 to 1974. I reached second year of theological studies at a regional major seminary here in Mindanao. Until one day, one of the professors told me that the faculty voted to send me out for a regency…short for saying…”you have to leave.” After a year of working in various ministries and apostolates in our diocese, I was ready to face our bishop to tell him that I wanted to re-enroll and go back to finish the theologate.

    A week before I planned to see my bishop, however, my girl friend told me that she was already pregnant, and if I’ll leave her for the seminary, I can’t see them, including the child, any longer. So, I stayed.

    I have grandchildren now, but my desire to serve the church and the people is still burning.

    I admire your generosity in ministering to the needs of your flock and being steadfast in your faith in the Lord.

  5. Cris says:

    Hello Mr. Holland, we missed you and Stephan today. I was tickled to see so many options pop up when I googled you. I also googled myself. Apparently I have lived in North Carolina. My brother-in-law mentioned a few months ago about a story you had written about your son, Chris. Is this something you have posted online where I might be able to read it?

    • frmichelrcc says:

      Cris, we missed again! This time it was Stefan’s fault, he took the bus home instead of waiting for me to pick him up. I am looking for that article for you.

  6. Fr. Michel, I’m very excited that I have discovered your blog. Just know that someone in Dallas, TX is reading and being moved. Kim

    • frmichelrcc says:

      Thank you, Kim, for your kind words. Blessed Easter to you and yours!

      Fr. Michel Holland Holy Redeemer Catholic Community Fort Wayne, Indiana

  7. First time reader says:

    Fr. Michel,

    Do you believe that abortion is wrong?

    -a new reader

    • frmichelrcc says:

      All of life is precious, especially human life. Although I can think of circumstances when abortion becomes the lesser of two evils, I am generally of the opinion that the developing embryo–whether fully human or merely proto-human–is deserving of reverence and respect. I have also had the privilege of encountering several women who have had abortions and have had frank discussions with them. Even though most of them felt that they had had no real choice because of their extreme circumstances that impelled them to seek an abortion, it is sad to find women in their 50s and beyond who still carry the guilt and shame with them. God has forgiven them, but they cannot forgive themselves, so in a real sense, abortion creates victims all around.
      It must also be admitted with candor that the Church is largely responsible for abortion and the perceived need for it. Had we truly been walking our talk about “love”, we would never have judged and condemned unwed mothers, labeled their children as “bastards” and essentially created an environment of shame and secrecy around the miracle of conception…even in an unwed/uncanonical situation. Life is life, love is love, respect is respect. As a priest within this larger tradition, I am embarrassed and ashamed of the way the Church has behaved and continues to behave in this regard.

  8. Pingback: 2010 in review « Fr. Michel's Weblog

  9. Rev Susan Carol Orlos says:

    Dear Fr. Michel,
    I shall embrace your writing as dialogue. It seems as if this early morning, you are here in my kitchen as I await the sun. Peace be with you. Rev. Susan+

  10. Fr. Michel, thanks for your comments on my article at US CATHOLIC concerning the real, but not physical presence of Christ in Eucharist. Email me, please: jswitzer@shc.edu

    THANKS!

  11. Crystal says:

    Wow Mr. Holland I never knew this about you 😮 Just to let you know, you’re my favorite teacher 🙂

  12. David L. says:

    How is it possible that the sacraments are considered valid by the Roman Catholic Church? While I understand the legitimacy of baptism, the validity of reconciliation, confirmation, and the Eucharist within this church seems questionable.

    • frmichelrcc says:

      Any basic book on sacramental theology will clarify that for you. What is needed is a validly ordained priest who has 1) valid matter and 2) valid form. I meet all the requirements in every sacramental action that I administer. This is not to say that the Roman Church accepts the sacraments administered by me as “licit”, since I do not have “faculties” from the Roman bishop to perform the rites in his diocese. Questions of liceity do not, however, provoke questions of validity. They are separate and distinct issues.

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