Fr. John provides opportunity to give back

Kyle Pelan

Previously published in “The Mount” a publication produced by the staff of Mount Michael’s Journalism team. Follow the journalism team via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube links on https://mountonline.org

by Kyle Pelan ’21

It’s 9:30 in the morning. You’ve only finished two of your nine classes and already feel famished and lethargic. As you stroll by the atrium, a wave of joy comes over you as you see the comforting words on the white board: “Three pumpkin muffins for a dollar and a loaf of banana bread for three dollars from campus ministry.” The perfect mid-morning snack is now available.

During the school year, many individuals coordinate activities to raise money for organizations and causes. For head of campus ministry Fr. John Hagemann ‘67, the fundraisers are all about making personal connections to serve others.

Brayden Whitaker ’20 reaches for Banana bread

“About three years ago, I saw how everyone reacted to these foods,” Hagemann said. “I saw how great of an opportunity it could be to have some people indirectly support different projects and organizations by buying some of my food.”

Hagemann ran with this opportunity by making sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, pumpkin muffins, and banana bars for students to purchase during the day. These funds go to campus ministry to support different activities like students retreats and charity organizations.

Cooking has always been a fond hobby of Hagemann’s, and students and staff appreciate it. His desserts and treats given out at special feasts and meals have become a tradition that the community looks forward to.

“I usually make about 100 dollars every week, and it goes towards all sorts of things that our school can help with,” Hagemann said.

Last year, some of this revenue went towards supporting St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Port Saint Joe, Florida, which had recently been hit by Hurricane Michael. The school was able to raise over five hundred dollars, as well as gather some supplies to assist these victims.

“Hurricane Michael took quite a toll on our community, damaging homes, businesses, roads, and churches,” Fr. Chris Winkeljohn said in a letter to Hagemann. “Your donation to us is helping us repair our church buildings as well as helping individuals in need who don’t have the same resources that our parish does. May God bless you for your kindness.”

As the holiday season approaches, he plans to put the money towards Operation Others. Hagemann helps out by donating cans for the group to transport to the needy.

“I’ve developed a system where I go to Walmart or another big business with lots of money and challenge them to match the money I have made to go towards getting cans of food,” he said.

Other than Operation Others, Hagemann supports Essential Pregnancy Services by donating his flowers for their fundraiser brunch as well as with a diaper drive in the spring.

Another organization he supports is the Alliance of International Monasticism, through which Hagemann and Br. Jerome Kmiecik donate money to monastic houses in third-world countries.

In the end, Hagemann hopes students will connect on a deeper level with people beyond Mount Michael.

“I wanted fundraisers to be more fulfilling and student-led,” Hagemann said. “When many of us hear about fundraisers or drives, we just bring canned goods from our cabinet or tell our mothers to give us five dollars,”

Buying baked goods from him is popular with students because they can see how big of an impact they make.

“It’s a win-win situation,” Daniel Mondi ‘22 said. “That’s very kind of him to take time out of his day to bake and make us food that we enjoy. It’s all for causes that we can feel good about.”