Latest Updates

May 2018 Update


CHICAGO, IL – May brought the showers IMG_1209Chicago typically enjoys in April, but despite some soggy weather, the construction team continued their work critical to a stable and covered structure. If you’ve been following the blog or the bulletin, you’ve seen many pictures of the activity on-site.


1. The north wall truss backplates are in place and inspected, a required good practice.

2. The masonry enclosing the truss ends is complete on the north wall.

3. An additional support beam was deemed necessary in both the NE and SE corners of the building to provide additional stability. The NE corner support is installed.

4. All steel products required for completion of the roof support structure are on-site.

5. Some may be curious about the green screening added to the fencing on the northside of the building. This was required by a city environmental inspector and is intended to contain the dust from our work. The holes are intentional, preventing the wind from knocking over the fence.

6. The Institute architect, Bill Heyer, visited the site in May to inspect progress to date against his design. He also met briefly with the local architect, Walter Street, to discuss thoughts on Phase II.

  • You may recall that Phase II includes those items which enclose the building envelope (such as windows and doors) and make building occupancy permissible per Chicago’s permit rules. These elements include HVAC, electrical, plumbing, accessibility, safety, etc.
  • It is not until Phase III that beautification of the interior begins.


7. Save the Shrine’s Emily Nielsen and Jennifer Blackman met with the Shrine’s Project Manager in May as well. They agreed on steps that will further the journey towards a successfully restored historic building to house the Shrine of Christ the King.

8. The first payment from the National Fund was applied for in May. Approval is expected no later than mid-June, with a check no later than mid-July.

  • As a reminder, this grant is a 2:1 matching grant for the roof structure and roof. This grant requires the Institute to reach $500,000 in construction project gifts, pledges and in-kind contributions since 11/1/2017 to qualify for the National Fund’s $250,000 grant.
  • The $250,000 fund-raising challenge toward the Fund’s first check was achieved through construction project gifts, pledges and in-kind contributions of many, many generous donors throughout the United States, for which those who believe in the Institute and the Shrine are incredibly grateful.
  • The final National Fund check cannot be applied for until the project (roof structure and roof) is complete and inspected by the Fund’s representatives.


Thank you to all who contribute time, money, materials, labor and other forms of support to this first step in this very ambitious three-phase restoration project.

Working Hard!

CHICAGO, IL – Seven members of the masonry team and five members of the steel team were on-site this morning working hard to meet or beat Phase I deadlines!!

– Bent beams in place on the North wall.

– Bent beam installation at the Northeast corner.

– Masons closing up pockets at truss/column connection point on South wall and Southwest corner.

– Corner pocket complete at Northeast corner.

End of May Update

CHICAGO, IL – Despite weather delays and a broken lift this past week… …

– Welding at truss/column joints is completed.

– Masonry enclosure at trusses/columns is beginning.

– Site visit by Institute architect went well.

– Decking installation beginning soon!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Great Weather = More Work

CHICAGO, IL – With some great weather last week, the team was able to continue the following:

  • – Purlin and sag rod installation
  • – Mortar repair and finishing on north and east interior walls
  • – Replacement of temporary supports with permanent supports on east and west walls
  • – Removal and recycling of waste materials
  • – Welding proof of truss plates.

Busy May

CHICAGO, IL – The first full week of May was busy at the Shrine!

1. Installation of purlins and sag rods continued (Click to enlarge)

2. Additional bricks arrived (Click to enlarge)

3. Decking is being delivered

4. Wooden altar backdrop is being removed (Click to enlarge)

5. Mortar work on east and north walls continued

6. And rubbish is being hauled away for recycling.

Thanks to all for the support and prayers as work continues.

April Recap

CHICAGO, IL – April was a very busy month at the Shrine, and the weather may finally be conducive to even more high quality work!

1. Trusses were installed.

2. Half of purlins were installed.

3. Half of sag rods were installed.

4. Valley beams are in fabrication.

5. Wood framing and sheathing at the altar have been completed and roofing in this area has begun.

6. Masonry repairs continue one wall at a time in sync with the metal work.

7. Remaining known materials have been ordered for Phase I completion.

The project remains on schedule. As a reminder, it is a very active worksite, with little space for movement of materials and equipment. We encourage those who are interested in more frequent news than this monthly update to see the weekly updates on the blog rather than try to visit the construction site. This is for your safety, as well as that of the construction team.

April and May Work

CHICAGO, IL – Significant progress is visible from the air and the sidewalk, as all 8 trusses have been installed! The majority of purlins linking the trusses will be in place this week, soon followed by sag rods.

Scaffolding covers the interior east wall to support our masons and their ongoing work at the top of the wall.

Work through the rest of April and the month of May will be overhead in the church interior. As safety is paramount, we encourage all supporters and interested parties to continue enjoying the progress of the restoration through this blog, our website, and views from outside the fence. At least until the roof work is complete, regular updates with photographs and videos will be posted to keep all of you in the loop, safely.

Click photos to enlarge…


CHICAGO, IL – Trusses 7 and 8, which are smaller than the others, have been installed in the north and south transepts of the building. Truss 6 was then put in, connecting Truss 7 and 8. Thus, all eight trusses have now been installed! Purlins, that is, steel supports which run perpendicular to the trusses, continue to be put in place. Welding continues as well. Meanwhile scaffolding is being built for more essential masonry repairs on the pediment wall located in between the nave and the altar area. This pediment wall is surmounted by a large stone cross.

Click to enlarge…

Truss No. 5 Installed

CHICAGO, IL – Truss No. 5 installed amid the April winter in Chicago!

Enjoy the photos and drone footage below… (Click to enlarge)

Truss 4 of 8 Installed

CHICAGO, IL – On Wednesday, April 11th, 4th Truss of 8 trusses was installed. Wooden framing for the new roof over the altar and sanctuary area has also begun at the building’s east elevation.