Interview with Fr. Charlie Fall 1979

by Susan Misukaitis

The following was for Speaking for Radio and Television journalism class at the  University of Michigan in 1979.  The assignment was to conduct a three­minute  ‘man on the street’ interview, which includes explaining the setting of the interview, unscripted responses and background sounds.

I knew Fr Charles Irwin from St Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor. I went to mass  at the VFW hall with my mother who lived in the area. (I even taught catechism to  seventh and eighth graders at a family home as the parish had no buildings yet!)

(Location: VFW Hall in Hamburg Michigan, Sunday morning 11:30 am, guitars strumming in background, a hymn being sung.)

(Background) For You are my God, You alone are my joy, defend me O Lord…You give marvelous comrades to me, the faithful who dwell in your land, those who choose alien gods……

(Susan) I am standing inside the VFW post of Hamburg, a tiny town 15 miles north of Ann Arbor. A new Catholic parish has been established in Hamburg to ease the crowded situation of neighboring Catholic communities. This small veteran’s post is the temporary location of the new parish until a new church can be built.

Just a few hundred folding chairs seat the people. The altar is a wooden table covered with a white cloth in front of the room. The room is rustic in design. Electric lights set on wagon wheels hang from the beamed ceiling which is supported by log posts. The walls are made from unfinished wood panels. A bar is on the side of the room and a pool table stands in the back.

Ten thirty mass has just been celebrated. The people are singing the concluding hymn and the pastor is walking down the aisle. The pastor of the new parish is Fr. Irwin. Fr. Irwin was a chaplain at the St. Mary Student Chapel at the Michigan campus for 11 years.

Good morning Father.

(Fr. Charlie) Good morning.

(Susan) How are you today?

(Fr. Charlie) Okay…just fine.

(Susan) I would like to ask you – I hear you just got a new name for your parish. Could you tell me what it is?

(Fr. Charlie) Well, we took a ballot, oh, it went for four weeks running, and then, uh, twoweeks ago the bishop came here and he counter­proposed with three names. We had voted on St. Michael and he counter­proposed with three names: St. Philip’s, Prince of Peace and Holy Spirit. So, we had a final ballot last weekend and it turned out 2 to 1…we voted in favor of Holy Spirit. So, the people have chosen the name and that’s the name of the parish.

(Susan) So the name of the church is The Holy Spirit…

(Fr. Charlie) Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Hamburg Michigan.

(Susan) How many people are in this parish?

(Fr. Charlie) Well right now we’re averaging about 400 each weekend. There are two masses, one at nine and one at ten thirty. It turns out to be around 400 or just in excess of that – maybe about 175 families.

(Susan) Did you have any problems in organizing the parish?

(Fr. Charlie) Well yes because, um, this was created in a rather unique way. I was just set up here in July, July 1, and I had to pirate and steal all of these people from the parishes that they already belonged to. So, I had some problems…more and more as we go along… more are joining.

(Susan) Okay Father, thank you very much. So ends the first day of a new parish. From Hamburg this is Susan Misukaitis from WCDM Community Spotlight.


%d bloggers like this: