Latest Updates

Working Hard!

CHICAGO, IL – Seven members of the masonry team and five members of the steel team were on-site this morning working hard to meet or beat Phase I deadlines!!

– Bent beams in place on the North wall.

– Bent beam installation at the Northeast corner.

– Masons closing up pockets at truss/column connection point on South wall and Southwest corner.

– Corner pocket complete at Northeast corner.

End of May Update

CHICAGO, IL – Despite weather delays and a broken lift this past week… …

– Welding at truss/column joints is completed.

– Masonry enclosure at trusses/columns is beginning.

– Site visit by Institute architect went well.

– Decking installation beginning soon!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Great Weather = More Work

CHICAGO, IL – With some great weather last week, the team was able to continue the following:

  • – Purlin and sag rod installation
  • – Mortar repair and finishing on north and east interior walls
  • – Replacement of temporary supports with permanent supports on east and west walls
  • – Removal and recycling of waste materials
  • – Welding proof of truss plates.

Busy May

CHICAGO, IL – The first full week of May was busy at the Shrine!

1. Installation of purlins and sag rods continued (Click to enlarge)

2. Additional bricks arrived (Click to enlarge)

3. Decking is being delivered

4. Wooden altar backdrop is being removed (Click to enlarge)

5. Mortar work on east and north walls continued

6. And rubbish is being hauled away for recycling.

Thanks to all for the support and prayers as work continues.

April Recap

CHICAGO, IL – April was a very busy month at the Shrine, and the weather may finally be conducive to even more high quality work!

1. Trusses were installed.

2. Half of purlins were installed.

3. Half of sag rods were installed.

4. Valley beams are in fabrication.

5. Wood framing and sheathing at the altar have been completed and roofing in this area has begun.

6. Masonry repairs continue one wall at a time in sync with the metal work.

7. Remaining known materials have been ordered for Phase I completion.

The project remains on schedule. As a reminder, it is a very active worksite, with little space for movement of materials and equipment. We encourage those who are interested in more frequent news than this monthly update to see the weekly updates on the blog rather than try to visit the construction site. This is for your safety, as well as that of the construction team.

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.