Howard Hall organizes annual chapel crawl for daily Mass observance at all 29 residence hall chapels


Although many major universities boast strong academics, lucrative athletic programs, and successful, loyal alumni, Notre Dame is unique in its claim that Mass is celebrated more than 100 times per week on campus.  The annual Chapel Crawl, established in 2011 by Howard Hall’s president, encourages students to take advantage of the many opportunities to participate in the liturgy.

Every year, Howard residents compile and publish a schedule that allows students to visit each of Notre Dame’s 29 dorm chapels once by attending Mass at one chapel each weeknight (or on the occasional Saturday or Sunday) during Lent, a bucket-list item for many Notre Dame students.  Chapel Crawl participants experience the beauty and diversity of Notre Dame’s chapels: the schedule takes students under the whitewashed arch of Lyons Hall’s All Souls’ Chapel, into Alumni Hall’s unique Gothic Chapel of St. Charles Borromeo for Latin Mass, and even beneath the dusky eaves of the historic Log Chapel for Mass with the Old Collegians.

This year’s Chapel Crawl began on Monday, February 16, with Mass in Howard’s Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes, followed by homemade muffins provided by Howard Hall residents.  Many of the halls offer food as an opportunity for fellowship after Mass, including Farley’s Fondue Mass, Ryan’s Waffle Mass, and Dillon’s popular Milkshake Mass.

The primary purpose of the Chapel Crawl was never simply to help students embark on an architectural tour of Notre Dame’s chapels, nor was it to facilitate food-themed fellowship opportunities—although it succeeds in doing both.  Purposely scheduled during Lent each year, the Chapel Crawl is ultimately aimed at raising awareness of the abundant opportunities for attending Mass at Notre Dame and increasing participation in daily Mass within the student body.

In a statement to the Rover, Reba Luffy, one of this year’s Chapel Crawl organizers, explained the rationale for holding the Chapel Crawl during Lent.

“This event gives us the chance to appreciate how many opportunities we have every day to celebrate Mass on our campus,” Luffy said.

With such a variety of times and locations for Mass, it might come as a surprise that many residence halls do not offer daily Mass.  In fact, while 12 of the 15 men’s halls have Mass at least five days a week, only one women’s hall—McGlinn—has daily Mass.  Every weekday evening at 9 p.m., Father Tom Blantz, CSC, celebrates Mass in McGlinn’s chapel for a congregation that is sometimes as large as 15 but, on other nights, is as small as three.

Why do so few female halls offer daily Mass?  Why is attendance so sparse in female residence halls that do offer daily Mass?  The answers vary among individuals, but many Notre Dame students who are already daily communicants are likely to seek out a certain Mass beyond the convenience of their respective halls.  Whether they prefer the traditional grandeur of the Basilica, the unpretentious Law School, or the early hour of Mass at Stinson-Remick, there is never a day when it is impossible to take part in the liturgy at Notre Dame.

In a final statement to the Rover, Luffy hoped to encourage all Notre Dame students, and not only residents of Howard Hall, to participate in the Chapel Crawl this Lenten season.

“The Chapel Crawl always happens during Lent,” she reflected, “which I personally think is very appropriate because Lent is supposed to be a time to grow closer to Christ, and daily Mass is such a great way to do that.”

Whether one frequently attends daily Mass or is considering the possibility for the first time, Howard Hall’s annual Chapel Crawl provides a perfect occasion for prayer and a deepening of one’s Lenten observance through participation in what the Church deems the “source and summit of Christian life.”  To find the full schedule for the Chapel Crawl, receive daily updates, or learn more, be sure to like “Notre Dame Lenten Chapel Crawl” on Facebook.

Nicole O’Leary is a theology and history major living in McGlinn Hall.  She can be contacted at