Michael Raia, MAL, ASSOC AIA
Michael Raia is the president and founder of Studio io. He is a committed lifelong Roman Catholic with a deep love for Christ and a passion for beauty, renewal of the liturgy and sacred arts, and evangelization. Following twelve years of Catholic education, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies while serving actively in leadership roles for campus, diocesan, and parish ministries. After years of experience designing and managing religious, community, and other commercial projects at a leading architecture firm in Austin, he began working on several Catholic projects and seeking quality formation in the Church’s liturgy and tradition of sacred art and architecture. In 2014, he enrolled in a 5-year program offered by the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Chicago, and eventually discerned a call to forego licensure to shift his focus to pursuing the unique opportunity to establish Studio io, a design and consulting firm specializing in liturgical and ministry-related facilities for Catholic clients that is built on broad personal and professional formation and seeks comprehensive renewal in the Church.
Michael completed the Master of Arts in Liturgy (MAL) degree with a concentration in Sacred Art & Architecture, completing his thesis, ‘Restored in Christ: A Comprehensive Outline for Mystagogical Catechesis,’ under the guidance of his academic director and mentor, church architecture specialist Dr. Denis McNamara. He is currently pursuing additional training via a dual-degree Master of Sacred Arts (MSA) and Master of Theological Studies (MTS) certification.
Michael’s design and formation efforts are informed by nearly two decades of broad relational ministry involvement, leadership as a parish volunteer and staff member, and work with dozens of diverse Catholic clients. As a senior project manager prior to establishing Studio io, he managed religious projects of almost every size and type totaling $25 million in construction while striving to find thoughtful, innovative solutions to difficult challenges. His experience now includes planning, design, consulting, and formation work in 10 diocese in Texas and several in other states. Studio io’s projects include small renovations under $100k up to new construction projects over $20 million.
Michael has presented on the topics of sacred art & architecture, liturgy, and evangelization to elementary, junior/senior high school, and college students, young adults, seminarians & clergy, building committees, parish-wide gatherings, and podcast/radio audiences. He assisted with coordinating AV, music, liturgy, and environment for seven years for the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference in Austin and also continues to speak regularly as a presenter on liturgy and sacramental theology, beauty, sacred art and architecture, and vocational discernment for parish Confirmation and RCIA programs, Catholic schools, Young Catholic Professionals, and other ministries.
Michael is a parishioner at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin, TX and enjoys the outdoors, swimming, great food, and live music for which the city is known. His brother, Fr. Jonathan Raia, is Vocations Director for the Diocese of Austin, and their parents remain active Catholics in Houston.
MEDIA & PRESS MENTIONS
SELECTED PROJECTS with Jackson Galloway / FGM ARCHITECTS:
• St. Eugene Catholic Church & School, Oklahoma City, OK
Strategic Planning, Campus Master Plan, Parish Evangelization Center Concept & Renderings
• Ascension Catholic Church, Bastrop TX
Parish Hall / Family Center Expansion & Full Interior Renovation
• Cedarbrake Catholic Retreat Center, Belton TX | Strategic Campus Master Plan,
Youth Lodge Schematic Design, Chapel Expansion Concept
• Diocese of Austin New Parish Master Planning | Two Parish Relocations & Phasing Schemes
• Shoreline Church, Austin, TX | Sanctuary/Auditorium Renovation, Children’s Center,
Office Lobby, and Hospitality Redesign