"It was hard work, it was a lot of fun, and I hope it contributes to outreach and evangelization here in Houghton," Fr. Hasse told CNA.
Student Benjamin Metzger said that Fr. Hasse suggested making a snow chapel during Michigan Tech's annual Winter Carnival. The carnival is a friendly competition which showcases various ice sculptures and snow statues to make use of the 200 inches of snow that fall on campus each year.
Fr. Hasse received permission from the local bishop to construct the snow chapel, with the goal of celebrating Mass after it was finished. In late January, he organized Michigan Tech students and parishioners to build the snow church, which they called the Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows.
"There were a lot of people and several hundred man hours that went into the chapel," Metzger told CNA, saying "we worked on it right up until the start of Mass."
"Working on the church was really deeply satisfying – to be building a church, even if only a temporary one," Fr. Hasse said.
On Feb. 5, the 33x18-foot snow chapel was finished, complete with a snow altar, candle coves, and a holy water font. Later that evening, Fr. Hasse celebrated the inaugural candle-lit Mass with more than 140 people in attendance.
"There were students, families, alumni, and people from the local community. It was really prayerful, people were very reverent. It was beautiful," Fr. Hasse recalled.