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St. Albert’s snow chapel hosting mass this weekend

St. Albert the Great Catholic Church will allow parishioners and visitors a unique experience yet again for Winter Carnival. Father Ben Haase says the snow chapel they create has never been entered into the month-long competition but it requires roughly the same amount of work. It also takes a similar amount of creativity. St. Al’s won the all-nighter competition for the coed division and its members are quite adept at working with snow. Every year they add a little more to the experience.

We actually borrowed an old crosscut saw from a family of parishioners. They would use it back in the day to cut up firewood. With nice pack of snow we can carve blocks out of it, so we’re just beginning to experiment with all kinds of structures you can build with those nice, square blocks.

Haase says he doesn’t change the service up too much from what you would hear during a typical Ordinary Time mass. The noticeable exception is the length. It’s cold in February and that is taken into consideration when St. Al’s moves outdoors.

Haase says the winter church has brought together families, to his surprise. He did not expect visitors coming in for Carnival to embrace the Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows. Masses take place at 5:30 and 9:00 tonight, plus 10:00 tomorrow morning. Haase recommends the late service.

My favorite time to celebrate the mass is after dark because when we get all of the candles lit up — one of the ways the ice chapel is really different is all the surfaces are reflective. By candlelight, the snow has the look and texture of fine stone.

Haase serves as pastor at St. Albert the Great and St. Anne’s, which is located in Chassell.

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