Death Notice: Father Charles Irvin R.I.P.

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Father Charles Irvin who died this morning, February 11, 2021. He was 88-years-old. May he rest in peace.

“Father Charlie was, for me, a model priest and, certainly, an inspiration for my priesthood because he really exemplified what it means to be a ‘wounded healer’,” said Father Dwight Ezop, Editor of FAITH Magazine, which was co-founded by Father Irvin in 1999.

“For me, Father Charlie was always an example of Christ’s love and dedication. He was the reason I returned to Church a young man while a student at the University of Michigan and the reason I subsequently found the path to the priesthood. I will miss him. May he rest in peace.”

Charles Edgar Irvin was born on January 6, 1933, in Ann Arbor, the only child of Charles and Virginia Irvin. His father was a professor in the School of Business at the University of Michigan while his mother was an accomplished artist.

Young Charles attended high school at the University of Michigan before going on to gain a Bachelor’s Degree in Business; a Juris Doctorate degree in law; and a Master of Business Administration qualification, all from U. of M. Initially, he pursued a career in law. It was while working as a lawyer for Continental Bank in Chicago, though, that he discerned a divine call to the sacred priesthood.

Charles Irvin studied for the priesthood at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and Saint John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. On June 3, 1967, he was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit by Archbishop John Cardinal Dearden at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit.

Father Irvin's first assignment was as Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph in Port Huron before being appointed Pastor of St. Mary Chapel in Ann Arbor in 1968 where he also undertook campus ministry at the University of Michigan.

In 1971, the boundaries of the dioceses of Michigan were reconfigured with Washtenaw County being transferred from the Archdiocese of Detroit to the Diocese of Lansing. Thus, Father Irvin became a priest of the Diocese of Lansing.

In 1979, Father Irvin become the first pastor of the newly established parish of Holy Spirit in Hamburg. He remained there until 1987 whereupon he moved to St. Francis of Assisi in Ann Arbor. In 1997 he was appointed as pastor of St. Mary in Manchester. It was from there that he retired from active ministry in 2002.

During his 54-years of priesthood, Father Irvin served in many diocesan and national committees which often drew upon his business and legal acumen. Perhaps his most notable legacy to the life of the Church in the United States was the creation of FAITH magazine, the official publication of the Diocese of Lansing, in 1999. Father Irvin was founding editor.

“Since 1970, I had been writing a column in Catholic newspapers,” Father Irvin recalled in an interview for FAITH in 2017.

“Bishop Mengeling decided he wanted his own newspaper, and my writing experience gave me the skills to be its editor. I went to several Catholic newspapers and discovered that Catholic newspapers were on a decline ... I said I can give you a full-color magazine of 24 pages that will transmit formation information, not just facts and data.”

“Bishop Mengeling decided this is what he wanted to do, and a plan for funding was created. The original staff was only four people.” 22-year-later and FAITH Catholic is now the largest publisher of Catholic magazines in the United States.

Father Irvin remained active as a Senior Priest although, in recent years, he was greatly troubled by arthritis. In his final days Father Irvin was both visited and anointed by Bishop Boyea of Lansing.

Father Charles Edgar Irvin (1933-2021), Requiescat in pace