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.

Fire-Damaged Trusses 5 & 8 Removed

CHICAGO, IL – Thursday, April 5th, was a busy day at the Shrine. More fire-damaged trusses were removed from the roof! Trusses 4 – 8 are all interconnected. These trusses form the main roof of the sanctuary, and also the small roofs over the Transept that runs north and south. The Transept is the transverse part of the building, which lies across the main body of the nave creating a cross-shaped form.

Because of the interconnection of these trusses Truss 5 had to comes out first with Trusses 8 and 7 to follow.

Truss 4 was temporary braced to Truss 3. All the purlins were removed from Truss 4 to Truss 5 and between Truss 5 to Truss 6. Truss 5 was supported by the crane with the spreader bar attachment. Truss 5 was cut loose from Trusses 8 & 7. Tag lines were at each end to guide the ends as in previous removals. The use of walkie talkies helps the ground crew communicate with the team in the lifts and the crane operator.

Once Truss 5 was safely on the ground, the crew began to work on removing Truss 8. Truss 8 was secured with the crane and the spreader bar. The purlins were cut from the truss to the south pediment wall. The truss was cut loose from Truss 6 then Truss 4. Once loose the truss was lifted and set on the ground.

Trusses 2 & 3 Installed

CHICAGO, IL – On April 4, 2018, Truss 2 and Truss 3 were lifted into place! The trusses were assembled on the ground and inspected. At the columns, the hip connections were installed. The exiting columns received a hip connection at the top of the column where they were welded into place. The new truss was attached to the hip connection with bolts and welds.

Truss 2 was lifted late morning and then two purlins were installed connecting Truss 2 to Truss 1. Once Truss 2 was secure, Truss 3 was lifted into place. Two purlins will be installed from Truss 3 to Truss 2 to support the trusses until all the purlins can be installed.

Click Photos to Enlarge

March 2018 Update

CHICAGO, IL – Here is the update for the work done in March at the Shrine. Thankful and grateful to have such an amazing team to work with and have so much progress this month.

Phase I

– Truss Nos. 1, 2, & 3 were delivered to the site

– Street Closure Permit was obtained

– Street Closure March 14: 64th street closed from Woodlawn to the ally to the east is closed to traffic

– Large Crane is located on 64th street until all trusses are replaced

– Purlins were removed from Truss 1

– Fire-damaged Truss 1 was removed and placed on the north side of the building

– Ironworkers removed the miscellaneous steel from the existing columns, then installed new bent plates on top of the columns for Truss 1. These are the plates that Truss 1 will be attached to – New Truss 1 was installed and purlins were installed to the west wall

– Purlins from Truss 2 were removed

– Fire-damaged Truss 2 was removed and placed on the north side of the building on top of Truss 1

– Purlins from truss 3 were removed

– Fire-damaged Truss 3 was removed and placed on the north side of the building on top of Truss 2

– Ironworkers removed the miscellaneous steel from the existing columns

– Ironworkers and currently working on installing the bent plates to receive Truss 2

– During the first week of April, Truss 2 and Truss 3 will be installed

The work is on schedule! Thank you to everyone who has provided support for this project. May you have a blessed Holy Weekend.