CHICAGO, IL – The Shrine’s new roof has been completed! This is a major milestone for three reasons: it marks the end of the first phase of the restoration, it completes our project goal to obtain the second half of a matching grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places, and most especially, it is the culmination of three years of support from all our donors.
One year ago, the National Fund for Sacred Places awarded the Shrine a grant of $250,000 to be paid in two installments on the conditions that we raise $500,000 on our own and that the roof be completed. Thanks to you all, we reached and surpassed the fundraising goal of $500,000 earlier this year. This week, inspectors from the National Fund came to assess the brand new roof structure, assuring its installation and completion. The inspectors were very pleased with what they saw and the progress that we have made. They then invited us to complete the final paperwork, taking the final step so that the Shrine can now receive the second half of the $250,000 grant.
While we are deeply grateful for the grant, we are even more profoundly humbled by what this milestone says to us from you: it is the culmination of three years of collaboration with countless donors to complete Phase I, which included the stabilization of the building, and an entirely new steel roof structure. In total, you helped us raise $3M to get us this far.
From the very day of the fire, the support of many individuals has been astounding and heartwarming. Truly, without your help, through donations large and small, in one-time or repeated contributions, we would not have been able to accomplish Phase I. With the completion of the roof, and the building interior now protected from the elements, we are no longer operating in response to an emergency. We have “stopped the bleeding”, and we are able to press on to the restoration ahead.
There are no words that can adequately express our gratitude, hope, and inspiration engendered by the generosity of all our supporters for the completion of this Phase I. Accordingly, Canon Matthew Weaver, the Project Manager for the Shrine and a newly ordained American priest, will offer a special Mass of thanksgiving on Monday, October 29, 2018, for the intentions of all who have helped us achieve this once unthinkable goal for the greater glory of God on earth. May He reward you eternally for your generosity to us!