Fr. Michael Tracey was born in Killawalla, Westport, Ireland . He attended St. Patrick’s National School in Killawalla; St. Mary’s College, Galway and St. Patrick’s College, Carlow. Most Rev. Joseph B. Brunini D.D. Bishop of Jackson, Mississippi ordained him as a priest on June 14, 1972 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Killawalla.
He served at Our Lady of the Gulf parish, Bay St. Louis as Associate Pastor from 1972 to 1976. He served as Associate Pastor of Nativity B.V.M. parish, Biloxi from 1976 to 1980 when he was assigned as Associate Pastor of St. James parish, Gulfport until 1984.
Fr. Tracey served as Associate Youth Director of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson from 1975 to 1977. When the Diocese of Biloxi was established in 1977, Bishop Howze appointed Fr. Tracey as its first Director of Youth Ministry. He served in that capacity from 1977 to 1981. Bishop Howze also appointed him as the Associate Editor of "Mississippi Today," the weekly Catholic newspaper for Mississippi Catholics. Fr. Tracey served in that capacity from 1977 to 1979.
He has also served as Executive Director of Marriage Encounter for the diocese as well as a member of the Diocesan Priests Council. He received a Master degree in Pastral Ministry from Fordham University, New York in 1985.
He returned to the Diocese of Biloxi in 1985 to become Director of RENEW, a three-year, small group faith sharing process, for the diocese. During his tenure as Director, he created several small group faith-sharing booklets for participants that are being used in various dioceses in the United States and Canada.
He wrote a regular column called "Rambling Rhetoric" for "Mississippi Today" from 1976 to 1982. He began writing a regular column called "Traveling Companion" for "Gulf Pine Catholic," newspaper of the Diocese of Biloxi, in 1988. This column continues today.
Fr. Tracey has written several articles for various national Catholic newspapers and magazines including National Catholic Reporter, America magazine and The Priest magazine. In 1996, he published his first novel, "Woman of the Cloth," published by Town Square Books. The novel reflects one woman’s struggle for identity and ministry in the Church. He was also a contributing author to Contemporary Religious Ideas, published in 1996 by Libraries Unlimited. His chapter deals with "Catholic Spiritualities for Every Person."
He published "Walking Shoes: A Soul Journey," in 2002. It is a reflection on elements in life’s journey. A more detailed description of the book can be found in thr "Publications" menu. This book was followed by, "May the Wind be at your Back - Reflections in the shade," published in 2003. A more detailed description of this book can be found in the "Publications" menu. His latest book, published in 2006, is titled "She was no Lady - A personal journey through Hurricane Katrina" It is the story of his journey of recovery through Hurricane Katrina which devastated his parish in late August 2005. A more detailed description of his books can be found under "Publications.". He has also been a contributing author with some professors at the University of Southern Mississippi in other publications.
Fr. Tracey became pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas parish at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg in March 1988 and served there until September 2000. He served as pastor of Our Lady of the Gulf parish, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.until January 2013.
He was honored by the Co. Mayo Association of Boston as the "Mayo Person of the Year" in October 2008 for his work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Recently he published an illustrated adult fable, "The Crooked Christmas Tree" which challenges us to look deep within to discover each other's inner beauty rather than looking at people superficially. The book, along with his other books, are available at amazon.com. or amazon.co.uk. Fr. Tracey retired, after 40 years serving in Mississippi, in January 2013 and moved to his native country, Ireland .