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Howard Hall reflects on annual ‘Chapel Crawl’

| Wednesday, April 4, 2018

During the Lenten season, Howard Hall set forth a bold goal for hall residents and other University students — attend Mass in every dorm chapel on campus over the 46-day period of Lent, covering all 30 residence hall chapels as part of their “Chapel Crawl.”

The Crawl allows students to visit and experience different chapels on campus, but sophomore Erica Vossen said visiting every dorm is not the main highlight of the event.

Vossen, who serves on Howard’s Spiritual Life Committee (SLC), has been involved with the event since she came to campus.

“Being able to see the other chapels on campus is interesting, but that’s not why I do [the Chapel Crawl],” she said. “It’s about the time we get to spend with other members of the community that we might not have ever met otherwise.”

Howard’s SLC is responsible for the event’s organization, which includes schedule planning, walk-overs, reaching out to other dorms’ rectors and promoting the event. By the end of the crawl, participants will have attended 32 Masses and prayer services in total.

The crawl leads a walk-over to a Mass every day of the week but Saturday, Vossen said, and Fridays are usually a prayer service instead of a Mass.

“Both are great ways to build community and interact with residents from other dorms,” she said.

Another key aspect of the event is the intimacy of the Masses that participants attend.

“A lot of the weekday Masses we go to are really small and intimate, especially the men’s halls that have weekly Mass every day,” Vossen said. “You get to meet a lot of people that are really dedicated.” 

Many chapel crawl Masses only last around 20 minutes — a short duration for many students who are too busy to devote a large portion of their time to a weeknight event.

The experience of each Mass itself is especially distinctive, Vossen said.

“Some of the priests have such unique styles,” she said. “In the smaller Masses before communion we’ll all stand around the altar, right there, and it’s just a small circle of us. I really do love the intimacy of it.”

Participants often attend residence halls’ signature Masses to experience the unique culture of each dorm.

“We also try to hit everyone’s special feature Mass instead of their regular Mass,” Vossen said. “It’s fun to see their dorm spirit.”

Howard’s SLC has high hopes for the future of the chapel crawl, one of the dorm’s signature events.

“It’s a challenging event to make successful,” Vossen said. “Students are usually busy on weeknights, studying or relaxing after a long day.”

Still, Howard’s SLC hopes to make the event a bigger deal in the future, Vossen said.

“We hope to put more intention into it in the coming years,” she said. “We want to get people excited about it.”

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About Kara Miecznikowski

Kara Miecznikowski is a Notre Dame senior majoring in biological sciences with a minor in journalism. Originally from Chesterton, Indiana, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

Contact Kara