Latest Updates

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.

First Truss Installation

CHICAGO, IL – Busy week at the Shrine. New Truss No. 1 was installed. The truss was assembled on 64th street. An all-terrain hydraulic lift was situated on 64th street and ready to lift the truss. A spreader bar was attached at two center points at the top of the truss. The spreader bar allows the truss to be lifted with equal weight on each side. Each end of the truss had a tag line and one or two men to hold the line and guide the truss.

The crane slowly started to lift the truss up and then the men used the tag line to rotate the truss in a north south direction, same direction for installation in the church. The truss was then hoisted up over the wall. Inside the church were two Genie lifts with two men in each bucket ready to receive the truss.

Once the south end of the truss was over the north wall, the tag line was handed off between the men on the ground and the men inside up in the lifts. The truss continued to move south and lined up with the columns below. The men in the lifts continued to hold the tag line to control the ends of the truss to line the truss up with the columns below. Once in alignment, the truss was lowered on to the columns.

Walkie talkies were used for communication amongst the ground team, the crane team and the team in the genie lifts. Once Truss No. 1 was set on the columns, the team connected the truss to the columns and then added a temporary brace at the ridge of Truss No. 1 to Truss No. 2, to hold it in place for the night. Once stable, the spreader bar and crane were released from the truss.

Work continues this week securing Truss No. 1 to the west wall with the installation of the purlins. Once Truss No. 1 is secure, the team will move to Truss No. 2 for removal.

Photo Gallery of Truss Installation (Click to enlarge)

PRESS RELEASE: Installation of Steel Trusses for New Roof


For Immediate Release

Installation of Steel Trusses for New Roof of Fire-damaged Landmark Church

Press Conference at Construction Site at 6401 South Woodlawn Ave

Friday, March 22, 2018 at 11:00am

(WOODLAWN, MARCH 22, 2018) – After two years of preparatory construction work and successful fundraising, the fire-damaged landmark church Shrine of Christ the King will now be receiving a new roof and a new opportunity to grow its mission for the local community and beyond. This week, two cranes will hoist the first newly-fabricated steel truss into place atop the 1920s Italian Basilica-style church, as crews begin the roof installation process which is scheduled as of now to be completed in June.

On October 7, 2015, a multi-alarm fire destroyed the roof of this only remaining Catholic church in the Woodlawn neighborhood, causing widespread damage to the church interior as well. In order to expedite the church’s complete restoration, ownership of the building and property was given to the Institute of Christ the King in late February 2016. Since then, extensive masonry work has been done, while a completely new roofing system of steel trusses and purlins has been carefully designed and fabricated in view of its installation this week. To date, nearly $2.9 million have been raised for the Shrine’s restoration, including a $250,000 matching grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places. Partners for Sacred Places has been serving as the consultants for this project, while construction workers of good will have generously helped to keep the costs within the $3 million budget for this first phase of the church restoration.

A press conference will be held at the scene of the steel truss installation (6401 South Woodlawn Avenue) at 11:00am on Friday, March 23, as this historic and visual moment unfolds. Together with Woodlawn neighbors and supporters, the Shrine’s Rector, Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, will offer a brief progress report in gratitude, while the Save the Shrine Coalition and representatives from the historic preservation community will also voice their support of this project in celebration of this milestone moment.

For more info, contact:

Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, call 773-363-7409, ext. 4 (office) or 973-590-6494 (mobile) or email:

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To contact Save the Shrine, email: or visit

6415 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60636 (773) 363-7409

Truss 1 Removed!

CHICAGO, IL – Truss 1 was removed yesterday! With all the steel purlins removed from Truss 1 to the west wall and between Truss 1 & Truss 2, the truss was prepped for removal. A large crane staged on 64th Street held the truss in tension with the use of a spreader rod that was attached in two places to the truss. Iron workers released the steel on the south side first and attached a tether to hold it in place. Then the steel on the north side was released, allowing for the crane to lift the truss up over the north parapet wall and lay it on the ground.

Success! The first truss is out – now starts the prep work for installing the new truss!

Preparing for Truss Removal!

CHICAGO, IL – The west wall has been braced with steel tubes. This will allow the west wall to stand on its own while the first truss is removed. Truss 1 has purlins that tie into the west wall and to Truss 2. These purlins will be removed as part of the removal of Truss 1. The purlins assist with the stabilization of the west wall. The steel tubes will provide this stabilization during the removal and installation of Truss 1.

The Skidmore Wilhelm test

CHICAGO, IL – Today WJE, Ibarra Group were on site to perform the Skidmore Wilhelm test, bolt testing. This test is the pre-installation verification tension testing to measure fastener performance. General fastener testing is done to determine torque/tension relationships and is tested on bolts, lock nuts and direct tension indicating washers.

Skidmore Wilhelm’s hydraulic tension calibrator, or bolt tension calibrator, has been the industry standard for testing high-strength bolts since its invention in the 1950’s. The units are required to be used on steel buildings, bridges and other structures using fasteners in tension critical joints.

Below are photos of the unit. There are five manila envelopes, each labeled for the five different bolt sets used. Three bolt, washer, nut sets were tested out of each of the five lots.

February Restoration Update

CHICAGO, IL – Update for the work done in February at the Shrine. It has been a busy month, but in simple terms below are the highlights.

Phase I

– Truss Nos. 1, 2, 3 & 4 have been sand blasted, primed and painted

– Truss Nos. 5 & 6 are in the que for blasting, priming and painting

– Truss Nos. 7 & 8 are to start fabrication

– Masonry work on the interior of the west pediment wall has finished

– Masonry work at the southwest corner has started in preparation for the steel

– Truss No. 1 will be delivered on site on March 8th

– On March 12th, 64th street will be closed from Woodlawn to the alley to the east

– First truss to be set in place the week of March 12th

Phase II

– Engineering firm has been selected

– Start of Architecture and Engineering is on hold waiting for funding for Phase II

– Canon Talarico and Studio 31a have visited two of the three companies that are vetting for the restoration of the large windows and creating of the stain glass.

Trusses Welded

CHICAGO, IL – Trusses 1, 2, and 3 had final hip connection pieces welded on last week. After all are complete they will be sandblasted and painted and will be ready for delivery early March!