Father Michael Stewart, 84, of Collierville, Tennessee passed away peacefully at Baptist Reynolds Hospice House on July 10, 2022. He was born August 24, 1937 and raised in a very religious family. He was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Archie and Alice Stewart; brothers, Richard (Francis) and Donald (Thelma); and his sister, Marie (Arthur). He is survived by his oldest brother Archie (Fran). He will be deeply missed by his many nephews, nieces, extended family and friends.
Father Stewart was employed with the Illinois Central Railroad. He was the organist at old St. Joseph, St. John and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Church. As a young child, he would sneak into the church and play the organ which instilled a love for music that lasted a lifetime. He served in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps at rank of Sgt. First Class from 1960-1966.
He entered the Seminary in September 1968, studied 2 years at St. Bernard Benedictine College in Cullman, Alabama, and completed his BA Degree at St. Mary’s Seminary College in Baltimore, MD. He also received an MA Degree in Theology from Theological College of Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Fr. Stewart was ordained a Diocesan Priest on January 11, 1975 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He became the Associate Pastor of Sacred Heart Church. He was then assigned as Associate Pastor of St. Joseph Church, St. Ann’s Church in Bartlett, In-Resident at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Chaplain and teacher at Bishop Byrne High School, Associate Pastor of Holy Spirit Church, and Chaplain of St. Agnes and Memphis Catholic High School. His first Pastorate assignment was at Immaculate Conception in Union City, TN. In July 1986, he became Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church where he designed and built the new Church seating 800+ parishioners. Fr. Stewart then founded and established St. Brigid Catholic Church as a new parish in Southeast Memphis, where he also designed, built and dedicated the new Church on September 8, 2003. He retired from active ministry in July 2006, though he continued to celebrate Masses for various parishes. He was a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
His beloved sister Marie hand-sewed all of his special vestments. Known as “Uncle Mickey” by family, friends and most of Memphis, Fr. Stewart touched the lives of many during his faithful life, administering many Holy Sacraments to family, friends and parishioners.
The family of Fr. Michael Stewart have put together the funeral arrangements for Fr. Stewart. Visitation is at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on Friday, July 15 at 10:00 a.m. and the funeral is at 11:00 a.m. afterwards. Please continue to keep the Stewart family in your prayers.
He was born on August 24, 1937. Father Stewart effective and wonderful pastoral work included being a Teacher at Bishop Byrne High School, Chaplain of St. Agnes Academy-St. Dominic School, Associate Pastor at Sacred Heart, St. Ann-Bartlett, The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Holy Spirit Parishes and Pastor of Immaculate Conception-Union City, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Brigid Parishes. Despite having no experience as a builder, he ended up the builder of two churches in our Memphis Diocese: Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Brigid. Father Stewart was a very accomplished Organist and had an immense love of Sacred music and music in general. He was also a walking encyclopedia on the history of the Catholic Church in Tennessee and the history of Memphis, and he had an amazing memory of the names, faces and families of anyone he met. His faith-filled stories about the Priests and Bishops for whom he played the organ and served as Master of Ceremonies was enjoyable. In retirement, Father Stewart continued to assist at Parishes throughout West Tennessee, particularly at St. James, St. Louis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Brigid and St. Anne-Highland, where he was always welcomed. Please pray for peace and strength for all his family and friends that are suffering through his loss. Further information on Fr. Stewart, including funeral arrangements, will be forthcoming.