November 22, 1937, Dearborn, Michigan.
Cullinan prepared for the ministry of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod at Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Illinois. He was ordained in 1964, and served parishes in Oswego, Kansas, and Westland, Michigan.
After half a dozen years as a Lutheran pastor, he left parish ministry to work on a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He continued with post-master’s courses there, and served on the academic faculty.
Cullinan continued to feel drawn to the ministry, though, even after a decade in academia. That sense of calling and a certain wanderlust enticed him west, where he joined a small Church of the East monastery in southern California. There he was ordained as a priest on the Feast of the Dormition, August 15, 1982, and took the religious name of Michael.
That community ultimately disbanded, and several years later, Cullinan and other priests organized the Holy Incarnation Monastery in Alpine, California. This small group of brothers involved itself in the ministry of prayer and charitable services. Cullinan himself worked among developmentally disabled adults. After a few years in Alpine, it became evident California was too expensive for monks to live frugally, and the monastery disbanded.
Cullinan stayed in the San Diego area for a couple of years, living the life of an ascetic on Mount Palomar. In 1993, he left for Oregon, where he began working among adults with developmental disabilities. During this time, he wrote several hymns while serving as priest for a local Anglican parish.