After being nearly destroyed by a fire last Oct. 7, 2015, and facing threats of demolition last year, the historic Shrine of Christ the King is finally getting a new roof, with construction commencing this November.
Last summer, the Shrine had been granted a building permit for its new roof but construction faced delays due to lack of funds, exposing the structure to a second winter that caused further damage. Now, the project is ready to move forward as it has raised a $2.2 million fund for rehabilitation plus an additional $250,000 grant from the National Fund for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
New steel roof trusses are currently being made and installation is expected to begin in January, says Rev. Matthew Talarico of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. He relates to DNAinfo that the project may also need more fundraising as the interior build-out requires additional construction work.
Furthermore, Talarico says even when the roofing is completed within its spring deadline, the Shrine will not be available for public services for at least a year. The church still has to find a team who can handle plumbing, heating and electricity work that the city requires. “It all depends on pricing, we’re still pricing it out but it could be $4 million,” he estimates.
The fire which ravaged the church started from rags that spontaneously combusted in the balcony of the church. From the balcony, the blaze ran through the roof and interior of the church destroying a decade-long of restoration work work.
The Shrine has been set for demolition last year but the Archdiocese of Chicago saved and handed it over to the Shrine’s congregation.