For many students and staff at Edmonton Catholic Schools, Tuesday was a day of mourning – after news came out that Father Mike Mireau, died after a long battle with cancer.

Mireau, 42, also known as Catfish, passed away late Monday night, following a battle with cancer he had documented over two years through an online video blog.

Father Mike had served as the district chaplain for Edmonton Catholic Schools, the Archdiocese of Edmonton said in a press release Tuesday.

At St. Francis Xavier High School on Tuesday, students took a moment to remember Mireau.

“We could relate to home, and he came down to our level,” Rebecca, a high school student, told CTV News. “He took the bible and its teaching and made it relate to our everyday teenage stuff.”

“Whether it was superheroes or zombies, he was able to relate to them by being a kid at heart,” St. Francis Xavier principal Dan Donnelly said.

The Archdiocese said Mireau earned his nickname ‘Catfish’, because he used to draw cartoons of catfish with a friend – as an adult, he needed to take a ‘nature name’ when participating at Camp Encounter, and he chose Catfish.

One of three new schools to be named after ‘Father Catfish’

The news came hours before the school district announced Mireau had been chosen to be one of three individuals with new schools named after them.

The Edmonton Catholic School District announced Father Michael Mireau Catholic Elementary and Junior High School will be built in Summerside.

Trustees also approved another school slated for Lewis Farms Bishop David Motiuk Catholic Elementary and Junior High School, and in the Windermere area, St. John XXIII Catholic Elementary and Junior High School.

Board Chair Cindy Olsen called Tuesday a ‘bittersweet’ day for the district.

“Our beloved Chaplain Father Mike passed away last night and we are honouring him today,” Olsen said in a statement.

“All three men were selfless in their devotion to others,” Olsen continued. “And that is one of the many reasons these names were chosen.”

With files from Serena Mah