St. Albert the Great wins 2019 Winter Carnival


Members of St. Albert the Great displaying their awards.

Edzordzi Agobozo, Lode Writer

Members of St. Albert the Great Catholic Campus Ministry at Michigan Tech are the overall champions of this year’s Winter Carnival. The Winter Carnival committee declared this on Sunday, February 11. This year’s theme was “Years of Innovation STEM from this Snowy Situation.”

The student organization, popularly known as St. Al’s, won first place in the All-Nighter Overall category for the 5th time in a row, as well as Co-ed Special Events, Co-ed Overall, Winter Carnival Queen & Miss Congeniality, and second place in the Stage Revue category. All these culminated in giving St. Al’s the highest honor in the carnival.

This year, St. Al’s winning all-nighter statue depicted the Star of Bethlehem, the Magi (the Three Wise Men) and the Vatican Observatory. According to the organization, the statue shows “An ancient night, an ancient story continues in the Vatican Observatory. The Magi’s heavenly observation began a legacy of innovation.”

St. Al’s candidate and a fourth year Biological Sciences pre-medical student, Jill Poliskey was crowned Winter Carnival Queen. The last time the organization won this title was in 2002 when Jennifer Bzura won the title for St. Al’s. Other candidates who won for St. Al’s in the past were Sandra Gendzell in 1954, Kay Ojala in 1960 when the organization was known as the Newman Club, Kristen Couch in 1993 and Linda Sigel in 1996.

In messages of congratulations on being the 2019 champions, a former nun who worked at St. Al’s, Rev. Sr. Ellen Enright IBVM said she was “So proud of everyone’s hard work!” Patricia Bright Griffin, a friend of St. Al’s also said, “Wonderful! What a blessing to have this community on campus”.

In addition to building statues for Winter Carnival competitions, St. Al’s also build their annual ice chapel called Our Lady of the Snow, a tradition started in 2015. This tradition was inspired by the idea about ice churches being built in eastern Europe. This year’s chapel was an improvement on last year’s with more stained glasses and altar decorations.

Commenting on the chapel and ice Mass, Deborah Stroup, a friend of the parish, said “You all worked so hard in the blustery cold and it turned out so beautiful. Tuned in last night for the Mass and it was wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. God Bless”. Nancy Davis Tuckey, a part-time lecturer at East Michigan University said “Our oldest attended mass at St. Al’s while at MTU. Our oldest son in love’s frat always did well in the ice sculptor contest. This is awesome!” Mary Ann Sorensen, a resident of Menominee also commented, “This is so awesome!!! I love that the church is made all out of snow! Bishop Baraja would be proud!!!” This year’s ice Masses were broadcasted live on social media sites like Facebook.

St. Albert the Great University Parish started as Newman Club in May 1946 by Fr. Arnold Thompson. Fr. William McGee became its full-time chaplain in June 1958. On May 3, 1964, the current church was dedicated by Bishop Thomas Noa. Since its establishment, the parish has produced one bishop, 17 diocesan priests, one religious sister, one religious brother and three missionaries of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Fr. Hasse, the current pastor, joined the parish in 2013. He is assisted by Michigan Tech alumnus of 2010 and 2011, Father Dustin Larson. Fr. Larson has returned to his alma mater to serve the community at St. Al’s after his priestly ordination in June 2018.