Latest Updates

See the Progress!!

CHICAGO, IL – Scaffolding has been removed and the concrete repairs to the decks and the beams has been completed! The limestone lintel on the south face of the tower (seen in the photos below) was extremely compromised in the fire, leaving the structural integrity questionable. The lintel was removed and replaced with a concrete beam. The existing concrete beam below the lintel was also removed and replaced with concrete. Each level of the bell tower received concrete patching in areas where the fire damage was the greatest.

These photos show before and after. How wonderful it is to see the progress!

Warm Weather = More Work at the Shrine!

Chicago, IL – Preparation work for the installation of the steel has begun at the Shrine.  The interior plaster wall demolition has also started.  The walls being opened to the elements for two winters has unfortunately damaged the plaster beyond repair. Thankfully though, last fall the interior of the church was digitally preserved through a scanning process which will allow for a compete rebuild of all the interior details of the columns, freeze and other plaster details.

Interior plaster wall demolition
Prep work for installation of the steel

Field Inspection

CHICAGO, IL – Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) was on site today with Raffin Construction and Berglund Construction for the field inspection of the concrete pours in the bell tower that were done during the mild winter.  The fire had caused structural damage to the limestone and concrete lintel as well as the concrete slabs at each level of the tower.   The lintels were replaced with new concrete lintels and the floor was spot patched to ensure structural integrity.

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Structural Calculations

This is not High School Algebra; this is one page of the Structural Calculations for the steel replacement trusses for the roof. The steel fabricator is working with the structural engineer to ensure the structural integrity of the new trusses prior to fabrication. In simple terms it is the process of measuring twice and cutting once. Mathematical calculations are created and verified for the loads that will be carried at each connection point of the truss. It is exciting and critical work for the Shrine!!

Shrine Restoration Update—One Year Later!

Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

Shrine Restoration Update—One Year Later!

  One year ago, the Archdiocese of Chicago conferred property ownership of the Shrine to the Institute of Christ the King in order that this historic landmark church could be rebuilt as a center of Faith and culture for God and His people.

  Since then, a talented and experienced team of engineers, contractors, and architects, under the direction of project manager, Architect Elizabeth Ortner, has been advancing the rebuilding process as quickly as possible with the cooperation of the City of Chicago. Thanks to the goodwill and charity of this expert construction team, well over $500,000 have been saved as extraordinary efforts have been made to keep the costs down.

  Fundraising efforts to date have yielded a total of about $1,800,000, which includes very generous contributions from both donors of the Institute and from the Save the Shrine coalition of friends in the local historic preservation community. Thus, we are joyfully grateful to have raised together about 60% of the funds needed for our Phase 1 goal of $3,000,000. In order to install the new roof on the Shrine and to complete essential masonry repairs before next winter, we are aiming to raise at least $1,200,000 by next fall.

    To help and guide us in this endeavor, the Institute has recently engaged the services of Partners for Sacred Places, a non-profit organization of preservationists and strategists which specializes in fundraising campaigns for historic church congregations. At the Institute’s request, Partners conducted a study last fall on the Shrine’s fundraising potential and made recommendations based on its findings for implementing a fundraising strategy for the Institute involving both Catholic and preservation communities.

    At the present time, Partners team is working closely with the Institute to lay the foundation for an organized capital campaign, while carrying out programs for grant-writing and major donor solicitation. As our campaign structure and process develop under the direction of Partners for Sacred Places in the coming months, Partners will be offering training workshops for the benefit of Shrine faithful and friends who want to take part in the Institute’s fundraising campaign by contributing their input and volunteer efforts as a Shrine family for its success.

    One year later, let us express heartfelt gratitude as a Shrine family to the Divine Providence of God for this remarkable progress. Let us also reiterate our thanks to all Shrine friends local and worldwide for the support of their prayers and charitable contributions. Let us likewise be grateful to our friendly neighbors at First Presbyterian for providing us with their gymnasium as a beautiful spiritual haven during the rebuilding process.

    We invite everyone to join in prayer to St. Joseph, guardian of Christ the Infant King, to obtain all the means necessary to advance the rebuilding project of this landmark church for the benefit of our community and beyond. May the holy builder of Nazareth help and guide each one of us in the various roles we are being called to join in for this Divine Child and for those who love Him!

Rev Canon Matthew Talarico

Rector, Shrine of Christ the King

Provincial Superior of the Institute in the United States

Working on the Bell Tower

CHICAGO, IL – Below is a photo of the corner stone at the top of the bell tower being set back into place. With the use of scaffolding and safety harness, a mason is able to lift the limestone, install new stainless steel cleats and reset the stone.

We are grateful for this very mild winter weather so that the restoration of the Shrine may continue!

Roof Assembly

CHICAGO, IL – All the work this week is on paper at the Shrine. The Roof Assembly went in for City of Chicago Building Permit. (Below is the cover sheet to the drawings). William Heyer Architect is the architect of record. The roof assembly will be installed after the steel is erected this summer.

Overhead of Shrine Roof Photo Credit: Devon Neff
Overhead of Shrine Roof
Photo Credit: Devon Neff

Concrete Poured

CHICAGO, IL – Yesterday Berglund Construction poured concrete at the first level deck of the bell tower.  The weather turned too cold to pour concrete in other areas.  The second and third decks are prepped for the concrete pour once the weather warms.

The broken limestone lintel at the second level was removed and replacement will occur when the weather warms.  Due to cold weather, construction will hold until the temperatures rise above 40 degrees.

Concrete Lintel Work

CHICAGO,IL – Below are two photos of the same concrete lintel at the base of the bell tower. The first image is of the damaged lintel before the damaged concrete was removed.  The concrete that surrounds the steel beam was then removed and it revealed the steel beam encased within is still in good condition which is shown in the second photo.  Knowing the steel beam is in good structural condition, new concrete will be poured to protect the beam.  This concrete work will be done this coming week.


Tower Work Update

CHICAGO, IL – Below are before and after pictures of the tower northeast corner at the very top.  The corner stone had shifted at least 2 inches.  The stone was removed and reset.  SGH (Simpon Gumpertz and Heger) will be able to access the area on Monday to do a full assessment of why the stone moved and also, provide details on how to adhere the stone back in place.  The roof above is four large pieces of limestone, all in good condition, and may need some tuckpointing.