Snow Chapel
(Photo : Pxhere/Pxhere)

The snow chapel at Michigan Technological University has become a highlight of the annual Winter Festival. A collaborative effort between students, faculty, staff, and members of St. Albert, the Great University of Parish, created this impressive feat of snow sculpting.

The unique structure will serve as a place of worship, with three special masses being held inside the snow chapel on Friday and Saturday. This innovative idea for outdoor worship is sure to create a memorable experience for all who attend.

Snow Chapel in Winter Festival, Aka' Our Lady of Snows'

The creation of the snow chapel at Michigan Technological University, known as "Our Lady of the Snows," was a spontaneous idea that has become a popular and widely recognized event. An article in Detroit News says that according to the Rev. Ben Hasse of St. Albert the Great Catholic Campus Ministry, the inspiration for the snow chapel came from an article about ice churches in Eastern Europe shared by a student's parent.

The university's Winter Festival was already a famous scene in Houghton, but it gained international attention after the first ice chapel was created by Catholic students in 2016. Hasse says that the snow chapel is a fun and unique way to bring the community together and promote the spiritual aspect of the festival.

According to MTU Catholic, the snow chapel at Michigan Technological University has seen a remarkable increase in attendance since its creation. The first year saw 140 people attend, far more than what was expected by the Rev. Ben Hasse.

Since then, hundreds of students and community members of different religious backgrounds have come together to create the outdoor church and participate in the masses. This year's chapel is expected to be the same, with a large turnout expected both in-person and through live streaming.

The chapel features an ice altar made from Lake Superior's ice, stained ice windows, hand-painted ice panels, a confessional carved from snow, hand-carved side aisles, and an elevated pulpit. The three masses during the festival will be held at 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday at 411 MacInnes Drive in Houghton.

Also Read: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Support LGBTQ+ Rights and Same Sex Marriage

History of the Winter Festival

The Michigan Tech Winter Carnival has a rich history that dates back to 1922 when the Student Organization presented a one-night Ice Carnival. According to Michigan Tech, the show staged at the old Amphidrome in downtown Houghton, featured circus-style acts with students dressed in animal costumes, bands, student performances, and speed and figure-skating contests.

Due to its enthusiastic reception, the circus theme continued for the next two years and eventually became an annual event. Today, the Winter Carnival is a six-day extravaganza that has gained international recognition.

In 1924, the Michigan Tech Winter Carnival troupe embarked on a tour to raise money for the Student Organization and increase the school's publicity. The tour included stops in various locations around the Copper Country, such as Marquette and Calumet. Although the tour was not financially successful, it did help to bring the name of Michigan Tech to a broader audience in the Upper Peninsula. The tour was an early example of the school's commitment to promoting itself and engaging with the community.

Related Article: North America's Largest Catholic Parish Church: Discovering the Majestic Beauty of This 3,000-Seat Place of Worship