Mr. Michael Hoolihan

Year in Formation

Discernment Year

Home Parish

St. Edward's Holy Family Cathedral


December 19th


Seminary Mount Angel Seminary

Favorite Subject


Favorite Hobby

Bike riding

Favorite Book Genre

History or Mysteries


I was born in Orange, CA and consider Orange County my home. I am one of 9 children where I have 5 sisters and 3 brothers. I went to Servite Catholic High School (class of '79) and later attended Cal State, Fullerton majoring in Engineering. I went on to pursue my graduate degree at University of California, Irvine, which I completed with a focus in Business Administration. I worked in many places with the most recent being at the Irvine Ranch Water District as the Principal Engineer. After, I decided to enter into the seminary.

What are some of the factors that led to your decision to enter the seminary and discern the question of a vocation to the priesthood?

I have had thoughts of becoming a priest for the past three to four years, which over that time have grown progressively stronger.  I cannot attribute this feeling to anyone one person, but my growing desire to learn to understand God and the Church.  In the past four years, I have spent much time trying to understand the truth to many questions, questions friends have asked me that I really did not a good answers, and statements pertaining to the Catholic Church that I have heard but I have no idea how to respond.  At the same time, I have had an intense desire to understand my relationship with God, improve my prayer life, and become a better Christian.  My desire to become a priest has grown through reading books, listening to talks, and watching videos; especially on the lives of various saints, the Virgin Mary’s messages to the Church from various sources, the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and my growing understanding of the Catholic Church.  I have grown to understand the consistency of the teachings of the Church, how many of the seemingly endless unrelated questions about Church doctrine and teachings come from the same basic premises.

Who are some of the people who influenced your decision to enter the seminary? What is it about them that assisted you?

I have only discussed this briefly with certain friends or acquaintances, and some of my Catholic friends have been very supportive. I think my prayer life and my devotion to the Virgin Mary has had the most influence on my discernment and some of the people I have met through the discernment meetings.

Describe the moment that you knew you wanted to take the next steps to become a priest?

When I first started seriously thinking of the priesthood, I felt I had many barriers to becoming a priest. Some were just practical responsibilities in my life that I would need to take care of and other were self doubts of my ability to be a good priest. As I prayed about these, the practical barriers, some of which seemed insurmountable at the time, have disappeared.  Most of the self-doubts remain, but even these God has given me answers through unrelated conversation with friends.  I have had friends say to me in conversations unrelated to my discernment, “God doesn’t choose the qualified, God qualifies the chosen.”  This has been a great comfort in my discernment process and has become my daily prayer to God. I have asked for signs to help me confirm that the feelings I am having are not out of guilt for my past sins or desire to make people like me, but truly promptings from God for his purposes only.  I have had enough confirmations that I feel I have to make the next step.