Latest Updates

3rd Anniversary Letter

Dear faithful and friends of the Shrine,

This year’s Feast of the Most Holy Rosary marks the 10th anniversary of the Institute of Christ the King’s reception of the Pontifical Rite status by Pope Benedict XVI. As a young community founded in 1990, the Institute was first of Diocesan Rite, dependent upon the Cardinal Archbishop of Florence, Italy. Since October 7, 2008, the Institute is directly under the authority of the Holy See in Rome. This annual Feast of the Holy Rosary is thus a special day of joy for the worldwide family of the Institute.

However, this joyful anniversary day was mixed with sorrow in 2015, when the tragic fire gutted our Shrine home. While we are deeply grateful that no one was injured, the hardships and challenges of these past three years have been as countless thorns to weave a crown. How many lessons in patience, prudence, and charity have schooled us in these past three years!

Because of your persevering prayers and cheerful example, Our Lord has deigned to give us hope in the glorious mysteries to come. Through your generous support and sacrifices, the new roof is now almost complete and much of the masonry of the church has been restored to make its foundational structure now stronger than ever.

This success has not been without adversity. However, the lessons learned will soon help us to have a fresh start with renewed resolve in the 2nd phase of the project, which aims to provide the necessary windows and mechanical systems in order for us to use the church again. Brick by brick and bead by bead, the thorns of patience will bring forth roses of beauty in God’s good time!

On this Feast of the Holy Rosary, let us then be deeply grateful for all of the mysteries—joyful, sorrowful and glorious, which are all opportunities of grace for our earthly pilgrimage through this life. Let us give thanks for one another, because God’s grace has made us the spiritual stones of the Shrine community, and we have been together through thick and thin! Let us ask Mary Immaculate, patroness of the Institute of Christ the King, of the United States of America, and of the Archdiocese of Chicago, for her maternal protection, her guidance and her strength so that we may become the spiritual beads of a living Rosary, doing our part to bring to our difficult world the truth and charity of the Reign of Christ the King.

United with you in the prayer of the Holy Rosary at the foot of the altar, I remain,

Faithfully yours in Christ the King,

Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico

Shrine Rector

Provincial Superior in the USA

Open House Chicago 2018

CHICAGO, IL – Open House Chicago, held October 13 – 14, was once again a terrific opportunity for people to visit the Shrine building. This year, 348 guests, friends and neighbors were able to enjoy the space under the new roof with clean masonry walls! Most were delighted to see the construction progress, and many offered prayers and some donations to make Phase II a reality. We heard many stories of grandparents who were early parishioners, of weddings and baptisms, even from a tutor who worked at St. Clara School!!

It was a wonderful honor to once again – for a 5th year in a row – be chosen by the Chicago Architecture Center to participate in such a great event which showcases the hidden gems and architectural treasures of Chicago.

Many thanks to our dedicated volunteers, Save the Shrine, and Preservation Chicago for their assistance in making Open House Chicago 2018 a successful weekend for the Shrine.

(Click photos to enlarge…)

Brick Cleaning

CHICAGO, IL – The labor-intensive process of cleaning the fire-damaged brick inside the Shrine has begun. With this important brick restoration, the community is one step closer to coming home!

Check out the amazing before, during, and after photos of the cleaning of the main altar wall (click to enlarge). In the video below, a worker is using a high power sprayer with a special chemical solution to clean the brick above one of the windows.

Be a part of the Shrine’s #ResurrectionFromAshes and please consider donating at or

Shingles on the Roof!

CHICAGO, IL – Shingling has commenced on the church’s south side!

See the amazing photos and video of the progress. At the end of the clip, see all the layers of the roof – a most tedious process but thanks to the wonderful, hard work of the construction crew, the Shrine will be sheltered before the harsh Chicago winter!

Roof Progress and More!

CHICAGO, IL – The roofers are working hard each day this week for the roof installation, as can be seen in the photos below. After the sub-roof and insulation are put down, the shingles will then follow! With a number of important dates coming up, various pieces of the roofing and building stabilization have reached completion. Others tasks continue at a healthy, safe pace to move the Shrine that much closer to occupancy approval by the city. (Click photos to enlarge)

The steelworkers have completed all work and are removing equipment, materials and trash from the side yard and the building interior. These items have built up over the 12+ months this Woodlawn corner has been a construction site.

With the exception of the access opening on 64th Street, needed brick replacement is complete. Stone replacement on the south wall will be finished simultaneous with the roofing of the north side of the church. Scaffolding in the garden area will remain until completion of roof and stone work on the south side.

We are down to two bucket lifts from a time when we had three lifts, a Bobcat, and a crane! It is important to have this equipment when necessary, but expensive to have sitting unused.

The important restoration-related dates coming up include:

9/27: A visit from the incoming class of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, who are in pursuit of their Masters of Science degrees in Historic Preservation. They will learn from us about various aspects of preservation, and will be assisting us with some materials analysis.

10/7: The third anniversary of the Shrine’s great fire. A day to be grateful for what survived and to celebrate how far the Shrine community has come!

10/13-14: The fourth year that the Shrine will let the public, through Open House Chicago, catch a peak of the interior of the building, as well as a collection of interesting items found during demolition and stabilization. We will also find some pictures of the interior before and right after the fire to help tell the story of the space.

10/22: A final inspection of the roof by the National Fund which honored the Shrine with a $250,000 matching grant for the roof structure, decking, underlayment and shingles.

Plans are under development for Phase II. First up are exterior window and door replacements as funds are available. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Month of August Recap

CHICAGO, IL – Monthly recap of construction progress for August 2018. (Click images to enlarge.)

August saw the completion of the roof decking and steelworkers’ tasks!

Decking for the Southwest corner was purposely left open so that the brick and stonework of this corner could be repaired/replaced. This masonry is finished now with decking to be laid early September.

The inlaid gutter and wall top stonework on the South Wall will begin the first week of September as well.

Scaffolding will remain in the courtyard until the roofing and stone replacement are complete. These tasks are heavily weather dependent, so you will likely see activity on dry days.

A picture of the brick and stone repair work required in the Southwest corner of the building.

It has taken three years to accomplish Phase I. With your ongoing emotional, financial, and spiritual support, we embark on Phase II. Many employers will match your financial gift, doubling your money to the Shrine. Gifts-in-kind for materials required in Phase II are also welcome, and reduce the amount of funds that must be raised.

With time, money, a little luck, and many prayers, the congregation and the neighborhood will enjoy building occupancy in a reasonable time.

God bless!

Original Stone Reinstallation

CHICAGO, IL – Original stones are being lifted to the southwest corner of the Shrine’s building for reinstallation this week! Once this corner’s interior masonry is complete, the final decking section will be closed.

Roofing under layer will begin Monday, August 27th!

Roof Decking and More!

CHICAGO, IL – Great progress on the Southwest corner and decking. Now for roof under layers and shingles and exterior stone!

Click photos to enlarge…

Summer Restoration Update

CHICAGO, IL – July and now into August have seen major progress on getting the building covered and the interior better protected from the elements.

Metal framing was the first step for the new roof. At the beginning of July, the major components were in place.

As decking was installed, it was apparent that additional support was required, so these components were fabricated and installed in July.

Decking is the first layer on the framing. You may have seen it sitting in the parking lot until it was ready to be installed. It has welded and screwed connections to keep it attached and rigid to support the upcoming roof layers.

As the decking is installed, the space to lift materials and the pros gets smaller, requiring great skill with the machinery.

In August and September, the roof under layers will be installed. These provide insulation and a moisture barrier between the exterior and the interior. These are then followed by the shingles, which are the final external layer that protect the building from weather and restore the roof to its previous appearance.

The major southwest tower masonry work is also underway, with stone to be added next week. You’ll notice the scaffolding in the courtyard that is being used currently by masons, but will also be used by the roofing team.

With Phase I funded and near completion, it is time to think about financial support of the next phase of the restoration. Phase II will meet the requirements of the City of Chicago for occupancy, so that the congregation and the neighborhood can once again use the building. To name a few elements: Phase II includes architectural and engineering design and specification work, exterior windows and doors, safety and accessibility systems, heating, electrical, plumbing, concrete slab floor, roughed in walls and ceiling, stairs and secure upper floors are required as part of the Phase III ultimate architectural vision of the Shrine. The end of Phase II will provide a safe, blank canvas for the beautification that is Phase III.

Roof Decking Update

CHICAGO, IL – The roof decking continues!

The view of the northeast corner looking north. The roof takes a different shape here, so the decking is more complex than the large sheets on the main building span. Note the new masonry is finished at the columns and the top of the walls.

Same corner, facing the altar.

The southwest corner of the church. Note a lot of new bricking has been laid. Brick will continue up beyond the decking, and will be capped with saved stone.

Continue to pray for the safety of the people who are performing this work, good weather to facilitate quality completion, and funding for the next phase of this Resurrection from Ashes!