Michael was raised Roman Catholic on Long Island. He was educated by the Jesuits in high school (Regis) and college (Fordham), and was a Jesuit himself for five years. After that, he spent twenty-two years in the RC silent contemplative order of hermit monks, the Carthusians. This included twelve years in the American foundation in Vermont (where he was the first Carthusian ordained a priest in the Western hemisphere in 1979), seven years at the Mother House, the Grande Chartreuse, near the French Alps (subject of the recent documentary “Into Great Silence”, where he was also in charge of making the Order’s famous liqueur), and three years in England.In 1994, he left the monastery, and has since served successively as a diocesan priest in a number of parishes in Manhattan and the Bronx. During that time, he studied various types of yoga meditation, including kundalini, for eight years under Master Choa Kok Sui, who additionally helped introduce him to the riches of the Kabbalah. Michael also renewed contact in 1994 with his old friend and mentor, then Sensei and now Roshi Robert Kennedy, SJ, from whom he received Dharma Transmission as a Sensei in the White Plum Asanga of the Zen tradition in June, 2009. He was also formally received as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York in that same year.
Fr. Michael is currently a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, serving at the Church of Notre Dame, at Columbia University. He also runs his Dragon’s Eye Zendo at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in midtown Manhattan. Passing on the contemplative tradition in its many facets is a great passion. In addition, Fr. Michael has long been engaged in outreach to the LGBT community. He also enjoys movies and traveling, having visited more than 50 countries.