(Editor’s note: Father Marty Goetz is bald by choice, but for the month of November he has been growing hair on his head and face to raise money for St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Burlington. Fr. Goetz, pastor of Ss. John & Paul Parish-Burlington and Ss. Mary & Patrick Parish-West Burlington and St. Mary Parish-Dodgeville, responded to questions from The Catholic Messenger about his hair-raising adventure.)
Why did you decide to grow out your hair in November?
I have had short hair on top of my head for more than 11 years and for the most part I am cleanly shaven. (I might go a few days without shaving but for the weekend I am cleanly shaven.) The last time I let the hair on the top of my head grow out was in early 2005 for my niece’s wedding. Since then it has been really short and in the past year I started shaving it all off. A couple of years ago, I helped the Notre Dame (Burlington) students raise money so our principal’s moustache would have to be cut off and I thought it was time for me to do something. I don’t like long hair — on my face or chin — so I thought this was something I could do and have some fun with it — and raise some money for a really good cause.
I don’t mind not shaving my face or chin — although it’s really starting to itch! What bothers me is my head. Even after a couple of weeks, my hair hasn’t been this long. I’m going to have to buy a brush and hair spray before too long!
How many times a day do you get stopped by people wanting to know why you’re growing your hair?
About three to five times a day, although on the weekends a little more. What’s fun is going through the Notre Dame Elementary School. The little kids stop and want to rub my head — for luck I guess. They’re surprised how much hair I really have. When people say, “You have hair!” I reply with “I cut mine by choice — not because I’m losing it!”
What happens at the end of November to your new hair?
I can’t see myself keeping my hair on top of my head, but I might keep the beard if I like it or I’m going to keep it around my lips and chin – a goatee!
Who will shave it off?
I’ve been thinking about that. I think it could be cool to have a contest for that, too. I know I won’t be able to shave it off the first time, so I might have to go to a barber!
What if you miss having hair?
I can’t see that happening but if I do, I’ll let it grow out again. I just like not having it.
What is the hardest part of growing your hair out?
The itching is driving me nuts! That part I don’t like. This is going to sound vain but I like how I look without hair. I’ve noticed that the hair that’s coming in is grayer than my natural color, although I think the top of the head is going to be salt and pepper. Nothing wrong with that — it’s just a personal preference.
How much time do you save by not having to shave?
About 15 minutes in the morning. This is great — I can get ready in about 8 minutes!
What do you do with that extra time?
I get started with my praying in the morning a little sooner! But sometimes I get some extra sleep! LOL! 🙂
How does the challenge work?
On the 25th of October the announcement was made at Notre Dame that if the kids raised $750 for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Burlington I wouldn’t let a razor touch my head or face. But they had to have it raised by Oct. 31. On the last day, they were still a little short, so the announcement was made. I was told that kids ran out of their rooms to bring the money down. Plus, I was told by Principal Bill Maupin and a couple of other people that the difference would have been made up. But the kids came through and for that I’m truly thankful.
How much did the Notre Dame students raise?
They raised $929.56 for this. They did a really good job; I’m proud of them!
What do you appreciate most about St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry?
The people. I remember one day going out about 5 p.m. and the doors were open and I thought to myself: “They forgot to lock the doors!” But they didn’t; they were still there helping people. These volunteers give of themselves and they do it with a smile, even on the bad days when they’re getting yelled at or the like. At the end of the Year of Mercy, these folks are truly instruments of God’s mercy. They help out those who are hurting and see Jesus in them. What a special gift!