Latest Updates

Tarping the Walls

Berglund Construction was on site today and started the tarping of the open parapet wall. A plastic tarp is being trapped over the parapet and is attached to the inside and the outside to protect the cavity wall from the harsh winter conditions. This process will take about two weeks.

Field Report & Sounds Testing

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) was on site Friday, December 2nd, and conducted sound testing of the concrete floor, deck and lintels in the Bell Tower.  Scaffolding was built up inside and to the south side of the tower to obtain access.  Sound testing is done to evaluate the structural integrity of the concrete and to confirm if there was any major damage done due to the fire.

Gifts for Our Donors!!

During our Bell Tower Mini Campaign to raise $200,000, the Shrine is offering a special rosary for donations of $250 or more. These limited edition rosaries are specially made for us in Italy, featuring the Infant King medallion in the rosary’s center. The rosary comes in either brown wood or faux pearl, each in its own keepsake box. This Christmas and beyond, remember our dear Infant King’s promise as you pray the rosary: “The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.”

If you donate $250.00 or more, please privately message our Shrine Facebook page or GoFundMe page whether you wish to receive the brown wood or the faux pearl rosary, and please provide your mailing address so that the rosary can be mailed to you. Visit:

Bell Tower Campaign

Dear Friends and Donors of the Shrine,

We are launching a mini campaign to fix the Shrine’s bell tower as a preliminary step in the repair of the roof. The engineering evaluation discovered two of the lintels (reinforced concrete crossbeams) of the tower were seriously damaged by the fire, and these must be repaired before the new steel trusses can be attached to the tower. In addition to being an essential part of the roof’s support system, the bell tower belongs to the last Catholic church in Woodlawn, and is a symbolic beacon of hope in the south side of Chicago.

The total cost of the bell tower repair will be $200,000, and we aim to raise at least $50,000 of this total via

No mother or father in this world would want their home to be without a roof, and this is how the Shrine community feels towards their fire-ravaged spiritual home in the Woodlawn neighborhood. We all know what a harsh Chicago winter will mean for the Shrine: the cold winds will blow through the interior of the church, the snow will drift through the open roof, and freezing temperatures will surely wreak havoc on vulnerable architectural elements.

Weather permitting, the roof repair will begin by March, which means the bell tower must be stabilized before then. Please help us raise what we need to fix the lintels so we can put a roof on our home as soon as possible. Every penny we raise on GoFundMe from now until Christmas will be directed towards this mini campaign.

May God reward you for your generosity! Every week you and your intentions are remembered at a special Mass offered by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Helical Anchor Testing

CHICAGO, IL – Helical anchor testing was done today at the Shrine of Christ the King. During the façade masonry investigation, it was discovered that the metal anchors that hold up the exterior limestone are rusted. Helical anchors will be installed from the inside masonry to hold the limestone. Today the product representative was out to do strength testing on the masonry. This testing is to insure that the existing masonry construction has the strength needed to support the anchors and hold the limestone. The test results were positive.

Removal of Plaster Frieze

CHICAGO, IL – Demolition is being done to the plaster frieze and it is being removed so that there is clear access to the steel. During this demolition any larger pieces of plaster detail that can be saved are being salvaged, but the majority of the plaster is saturated with water and is deteriorating.


Open House Chicago at the Shrine & “Upper Room”

CHICAGO, IL – For a 3rd year in a row, the Shrine of Christ the King had the great honor and pleasure of participating in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago (OHC) – “a free public festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to more than 200 buildings across Chicago.” Last weekend’s 2-day event brought over 1,100 visitors to the Shrine. Open House Chicago participants enjoyed a (free!) hard hat tour of the Shrine, Chicago’s Historic Landmark. Volunteers guided partakers through the currently gutted shell of a church after its devastating October 2015 four-alarm fire. OHC visitors were able to watch a video published by the Save the Shrine Coalition (made up of members of the community and of various historical preservation organizations), see pictures of the Shrine’s previous glory and extensive history, receive an inside look of the current restoration efforts and view elaborate plans illustrating the future of the Shrine – restoring it to its former beauty!

OHC Participants enjoy a hard hat tour

In addition to the Shrine as one of the 216 locations which participated in Open House Chicago, the home of the “Upper Room”, 1st Presbyterian Church of Chicago, was featured and open to the public. Receiving over 650 visitors, “Upper Room” guests could see firsthand a gym that was beautifully transformed into an intimate chapel. One viewer noted, “basketball court lines are still visible on the floor of the gym…[where a Church] took up residence since [October 2015] fire.” The transformation is testament to the hard work of volunteers, the Shrine community and faithful, and the generosity of local neighbors. After taking in the splendor of the “Upper Room,” people observed the newly restored historic Infant King statue which was amazingly saved from last year’s fire by the local Chicago Fire Department. The statue, which returned earlier this month, was above the altar for all to see and marvel in its beauty and antiquity.

A Visitor Reads about the Historic Infant King Statue in the “Upper Room”

Through hashtags such as #SeeTheShrine and #OHC2016, visitors were able the share their personal experiences through social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Well over 300 photos were posted about the Shrine through these outlets. People were enthralled by their unique experiences of visiting a church which had recently been devastated and the inside eviscerated. One photographer shared his experience and feelings online writing, “I am finding it difficult to express how I felt standing there in the middle of the Shrine this morning. It was as though I was walking through ancient ruins, but at the same time I was awestruck at how much of the structure survived the conflagration. It was more than just a spiritual feeling, especially being a Catholic myself. Rather, it felt empowering, knowing that even in the face of the worst of catastrophes, we can still stand tall and hold firm our ground, to endure and go on, to not only recover but soar high from the ashes.” This testimony sums up the reactions from most all 1,700+ visitors who passed through both the Shrine and the “Upper Room” last weekend.

Visitor Photographs the Shrine

The Shrine of Christ the King is extremely grateful to the Chicago Architecture Foundation for selecting the Shrine and its “Upper Room” to participate in such an extraordinary event! Being able to share Chicago’s Historic Landmark gem with visitors from around the world was truly an honor and delight.

Shrine Facade with OHC Sign
Shrine Facade with OHC Sign

See all the photos taken by participants of Open House Chicago!




View some of the Shrine’s Photos!!

Onsite Work Continues!

CHICAGO, IL: BJRJ started the select demolition of the interior walls today. This demolition will provide access to the steel. No worries on the removal of the plaster and the loss of details though. The interior has been scanned and all plaster details have been digitally saved!


Scanning of the Shrine!

CHICAGO, IL – Today, a company called DLZ set up digital scanning equipment and scanned the interior of the Shrine. This scanning process creates a digital image of the interior that will be modeled and then that model can be used to recreate the plaster moldings and reliefs.

The existing plaster details are damaged beyond salvage due to being exposed to the elements. This scanning process is capturing the image of the details so that they can be recreated later in the design process.


Generous Donations!

Dear Donors,

Last week we set a goal of $10,000 to cover the restoration costs of the Infant King statue and its new portable baldacchino by October 7, the first anniversary of the fire. We are deeply thankful for the donations, large and small, which have since come in through the GoFundMe site and directly to the Shrine. Today we are glad and grateful to report exciting news! The total goal amount of $10,000 has already been met on Sunday, September 25. Thanks be to God!

During the days which remain until the fire anniversary, may we ask you and your friends to help us put a roof over the head of our Infant King? Thanks to your generosity, we have now raised about $1.5 million toward rebuilding the new roof—that’s over 50% of our $2.8 million goal!

With deep appreciation, the Shrine priests offer Holy Mass each week for the intentions of you dear benefactors. Let us be confident in the words of Christ Child to Venerable Father Cyril: “The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you!”