The South Side of Chicago experienced their first major snowfall today, and for the first time since the devastating fire in October of 2015, the Institute’s National Shrine has a roof to keep the snow outside. Following the tragedy, friends and benefactors helped raise over $3 million to construct an entirely new roof structure as well as to stabilize and clean the damaged historical edifice.
The Institute received the deed for the property following the fire and, now owning the site, is dedicated to building a National Shrine in honor of our Holy Infant King. Thank you all for your prayers and generous support to help the Institute build their National Shrine to Christ the King and Headquarters in the USA.
The Institute is now preparing to launch Phase II of their Capital Campaign to build the National Shrine to Christ our King. May the Holy Infant Jesus bless you all for your support.
CHICAGO, IL – Thank you all very much for sharing with us your time and talents the other day. Moreover, thank you for your continued support, friendship and love in this endeavor of Charity to bring life, hope, and grace to our community and to our land. May the Holy Infant King continue to bless you as you continue to honor Him by your dedication and commitment to build for Him the National Shrine of Christ the King.
CHICAGO, IL – Newly ordained American priest for the Institute of Christ the King and Project Manager of the National Shrine of Christ the King, Canon Matthew Weaver offers Holy Mass in St. Joseph’s Crypt Chapel in thanksgiving to Almighty God for the countless people who have so generously helped to put a new roof on the National Shrine in honor of Christ our King. Thank you all, and may God love you!
CHICAGO, IL – The Shrine’s new roof has been completed! This is a major milestone for three reasons: it marks the end of the first phase of the restoration, it completes our project goal to obtain the second half of a matching grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places, and most especially, it is the culmination of three years of support from all our donors.
One year ago, the National Fund for Sacred Places awarded the Shrine a grant of $250,000 to be paid in two installments on the conditions that we raise $500,000 on our own and that the roof be completed. Thanks to you all, we reached and surpassed the fundraising goal of $500,000 earlier this year. This week, inspectors from the National Fund came to assess the brand new roof structure, assuring its installation and completion. The inspectors were very pleased with what they saw and the progress that we have made. They then invited us to complete the final paperwork, taking the final step so that the Shrine can now receive the second half of the $250,000 grant.
While we are deeply grateful for the grant, we are even more profoundly humbled by what this milestone says to us from you: it is the culmination of three years of collaboration with countless donors to complete Phase I, which included the stabilization of the building, and an entirely new steel roof structure. In total, you helped us raise $3M to get us this far.
From the very day of the fire, the support of many individuals has been astounding and heartwarming. Truly, without your help, through donations large and small, in one-time or repeated contributions, we would not have been able to accomplish Phase I. With the completion of the roof, and the building interior now protected from the elements, we are no longer operating in response to an emergency. We have “stopped the bleeding”, and we are able to press on to the restoration ahead.
There are no words that can adequately express our gratitude, hope, and inspiration engendered by the generosity of all our supporters for the completion of this Phase I. Accordingly, Canon Matthew Weaver, the Project Manager for the Shrine and a newly ordained American priest, will offer a special Mass of thanksgiving on Monday, October 29, 2018, for the intentions of all who have helped us achieve this once unthinkable goal for the greater glory of God on earth. May He reward you eternally for your generosity to us!
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,
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.