Latest Updates

Work Completed in November 2017

An update for the work done in November 2017 at the Shrine…

Phase I

* Southwest corner of the building was severely damaged by the fire

* Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE) reviewed the structural integrity of the area and provided details for strengthening the existing steel in the area

* Simpson Grumperts & Heger (SGH) assessed the exterior limestones that were removed just after the fire and are working on the puzzle diagram for installing the stones back on the building

* Bond beam has been set in the Southwest corner

* SGH has provided analysis of the stone at the east pediment of the sanctuary. The top cross and two stones under are displaced and will need to be removed and reset once the crane is on site

* All steel has been procured and is on site at the fabrication shop or their subcontracted shops

* Bend plates and Truss No. 1 are being fabricated

* A team meeting was held 11/29 to work on the schedule

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Phase II

* ComEd Energy Efficiency has approved Phase II of the project for services from ComEd’s Large Construction Group

* ComEd will provide free of charge energy audits of the design

* ComEd will provide cash back based on the final design

* ComEd will join the design team and be a part of the process from design through construction

* Request for Proposals for HVAC Performance Specification was sent out to three engineering firms

* Request for Proposal for Engineering was set out to three engineering firms


– 11/27: Steel in Fabrication, one truss a week

– 11/27: On site masonry prep continues on site

– 12/14: On site masonry demolition complete

– 12/14: Install bent plates

– 1/3/18: Install new masonry

– 1/26/18: On site masonry prep complete

– 1/29/18: Steel Delivery Start / Start Erection of Steel

There was a delay on procuring the steel, now that all steel is secured, Full Steam Ahead!

Inspecting & Numbering Limestone

CHICAGO, IL – Engineers from Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) were on site at the Shrine inspecting and numbering the limestone pieces that were removed right after the fire. These pieces will go back on the building like larger puzzle pieces. The pieces were removed right after the fire due to the unsafe structure underneath the southwest corner of the building. Masonry work this Fall has been building back this corner and the stone will be put back into place.

Visit to & Blessing at Fabrication Shop

CHICAGO, IL – Canon Talarico visited the fabrication shop to see the progress of the steel connections and also to provide a blessing! The existing steel trusses and purlins were damaged during the heat of the fire and cannot hold the strength needed for the new roof. The labor intensive process of shop drawing review has led to the fabrication of the steel trusses. The fabrication shop has labeled each piece and with the use of the drawings will connect the pieces into what will become the trusses.

We all look forward to the erection of the new trusses in December!!

Work Update and Upcoming Schedule!

CHICAGO, IL – Preparation work continues at the Shrine, prepping the bundling for the installation of the steel.

Update of work that was done in October 2017:

● Bond Beam work has been completed at the Altar and North and South Transept areas

● The Pediment wall at the far east side of the building over the Altar have been prepped for tuckpointing

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, SGH, has been reengaged to provide guidance on the tuckpointing and stone weatherproofing at the pediment walls at the Altar

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, WJE, is working out the details for the Southwest corner of the building

John Lyle and Associates, JLA, has been engaged to work with CDOT on closing half of 64th street during the steel installation

● Organ Loft has been demolished and debris has been removed

● Steel is in fabrication!

(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Phase II

William Heyer Architects, WHA made a site visit to discuss next steps for Phase II

● Request for Proposal for HVAC Performance specification has been sent out

● ComEd Energy Efficiency Group has been engaged and may be a part of Phase II to help with providing the most efficient and energy conscious systems for the church

Upcoming Schedule!

10/30 – Start Steel Fabrication

11/27 – Finish Steel Fabrication

11/28 – Steel Delivery Start / Start Erection of Steel (6 weeks)

01/12/18 – Finish Steel Erection

01/15/18 – Start Roof Installation (4 weeks)

02/23/18 – Finish Roof

Prepping Steel before the Roof

CHICAGO, IL – This week work continues at the Shrine. The steel in the Southwest corner of the building, opposite the bell tower, is steel that is to remain. Prior to the roof replacement the steel is prepped and primed with a protective coat of paint. This area is accessed by scaffolding that is built from the ground up on the inside of the southwest corner of the building.

The Genie Lift has Arrived!

CHICAGO, IL – The use of Genie Lift is now on site at the Shrine helping the workers reach those high areas. Scaffolding will still be used at the far east and west walls but the lift will be able to reach almost everything else. Scaffolding has been installed on the far east wall for tuckpointing.

Tuckpointing is the method of repairing weathered joints in old masonry. The joints are cut or raked and then wet mortar is placed in the joint.

Organ Loft Demolition

CHICAGO, IL – Demolition of the Organ Loft was done last week to provide more access for the installation of the steel. The existing loft construction was severely damaged in the fire and after being open to the elements for two years, it was unsafe and had to be removed. No worries, the entire area was digitally scanned last year so it can be reconstructed to be better than new!

See Before and After photos (Click to Enlarge)…

Open House Chicago 2017

CHICAGO, IL – Enjoy a unique look at Open House Chicago 2017 at the Shrine! Visitors were given the opportunity to take a hard hat tour of the Shrine and see its restoration progress up close. We are happy to announce that despite the down pour of rain on Day 1 of Open House Chicago, 525 people braved the unfavorable weather conditions and came out to #SeeTheShrine during Chicago Architecture Foundation​’s Open House Chicago on October 14th & 15th!! God blessed us and our visitors with an hour of beautiful blue skies on Day 2 to close out the weekend.

View the awesome drone footage of Open House Chicago…

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




Many thanks to our generous army of volunteers and the Save the Shrine Coalition for helping to make our Open House Chicago weekend possible and a great success!

Shrine of Christ the King Earns Acceptance in National Grant Program


Shrine of Christ the King Earns Acceptance in National Grant Program

Chicago, Illinois (October 11, 2017) – The National Fund for Sacred Places, a program of Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, announced the acceptance of Shrine of Christ the King as one of 17 congregations nationwide to participate in a national grant-making program that supports capital building projects at historic houses of worship. Launched last year with grants totaling $14 million from the Indiana-based Lilly Endowment Inc., the National Fund will offer planning grants, professional services, and capital grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 to a minimum of 50 congregations over four years.

Chad Martin, Director of the National Fund, says that Shrine of Christ the King was well positioned for acceptance into this year’s cohort, for which over 220 congregations applied. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to be a part of this major preservation effort, a project to save a building rooted deeply in historic Catholic architecture. The story of the Shrine re-enlivening this sacred place as an asset for the community, and persevering despite two major fires in recent years is important for Chicago and for the country.”

The Shrine will use awarded funds to complete Phase One of development work after a 3-alarm fire in 2015 turned the 1928 structure into ruins. After previous decades of saving the building from demolition, preservationists and residents have rallied to rebuild the last Catholic church in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side.

“Because of the National Fund, we will be able to complete the roof installation on this Chicago landmark,” says Shrine Rector Canon Matthew Talarico. “It’s the first step in getting us home in the Shrine building.”

The final grant amount will be determined upon the completion of the technical support parts of the program — including training and project consultation.

The complete list of National Fund awardees for the 2017-18 program year include the following:

● Church of the Epiphany—Los Angeles, CA

● Congregation Beth Ahabah—Richmond, VA

● Downtown Church—Memphis, TN

● Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church—Charleston, SC

● The First Baptist Church of Boston—Boston, MA

● First Church—Oberlin, OH

● First Presbyterian Church—Santa Fe, NM

● Grace United Methodist Church—Dallas, TX

● Holy Ascension of Our Lord Cathedral Russian Orthodox Church—Unalaska, AK

● Judson Memorial Church—New York, NY

● Lutheran Church of the Reformation—Washington, DC

● Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purisima Concepción de Acuña—San Antonio, TX

● Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church—Indianapolis, IN

● Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church—Cedar Rapids, IA

Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest—Chicago, IL

● United Baptist Church of Poultney—Poultney, VT

● Wesley African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church—Philadelphia, PA

About The National Fund for Sacred Places The National Fund for Sacred Places is a program of Partners for Sacred Places in collaboration with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About Partners for Sacred Places Partners for Sacred Places helps congregations and others with a stake in older religious properties make the most of them as civic assets in ways that benefit people of all faiths and of no faith. Learn more at

About The National Trust for Historic Preservation The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, protects significant places representing our diverse cultural experience by taking direct action and inspiring broad public support.

For more information, contact the following: In order to set up media interviews with the Shrine Rector, Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, please contact Jacqueline Lee at

For questions regarding The National Fund for Sacred Places, please contact Chad Martin, Director, at 215-567-3432 x19 (Philadelphia office)

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Inspection

CHICAGO, IL – Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates (WJE) was on site yesterday to inspect the southwest corner of the Shrine. During the fire, this corner (shown below) was badly damaged and unstable stone was removed shortly after the fire for protection from falling. WJE inspected the remaining stone and brick by using a hammer test to check for structural integrity. In another area a metal detector was used to find the steel column embedded in the brick.