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St. Albert’s snow chapel finds worldwide attention

Now in its sixth year, the snow chapel at Saint Albert the Great on the campus of Michigan Tech has gone viral. Father Ben Hasse says he was speaking with a Twitter user who shared photos from last weekend’s service on the platform. After 4,000 retweets, the man is still getting nearly constant notifications. Catholic organizations downstate have joined in on Facebook and news outlets like the Daily Caller, with a national platform, wrote about the outdoor church.

Hasse says that the chapel is inspired by Scandanavian counterparts. It has caught the imagination of the 25-30 members of the St. Al’s student organization who help to construct the edifice. They’re mostly engineers and like to add new features each year.

Now also they are making colored ice chunks and almost doing a colored mosaic design. So that’s been really neat, developing that. This year we added an elevated pulpit, the place where the readings occur and the priest preaches.

Hasse jokes that he knows they’ll have made it when the flying buttresses finally get carved out. For now, the chapel construction exists outside of the group’s statue efforts. Hasse says they have thought about making it an entry in the month-long contest. As of now, it takes nearly that long to complete the job. St. Al’s has been incredibly successful in the all-nighter. They took third this year, but that follows a string of victories in that category.

Snow masses are coming back for this weekend beginning with the 10 AM service on Saturday. Hasse says the group has fun planned for Friday night too.

Tomorrow, we’re going to be doing a night hike. So we hike out in snowshoes and we make a big, kind of 10-gallon tub of chili. We’ll hike out into the woods and have meal out there.

Then the snow shovels come out to help dig the chapel out. Hasse says prior years have seen over 500 people attend. St. Albert the Great is located on MacInnes Drive near the Forestry Building and UP Health’s SDC location.

*Name was originally spelled Haase. The correct form is Hasse.

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