After a massive, penetrating fire nearly destroyed Shrine of Christ the King Catholic Church in Chicago, Ill., last October, the beloved building was heading toward demolishment ... until donors stepped in to raise $650,000-plus to cover the costs of stabilizing the structure. Congregants were primarily from the Woodlawn and Hyde Park communities.
Based on extensive engineering evaluations, the Archdiocese in January concluded the church building had significant structural issues and that it was cost-prohibitive to restore the building to its state before the fire and to bring it up to current City of Chicago building code standards. The Archdiocese is predominantly self-insured and, therefore, there was no resort to an insurance claim with an external insurer.
So, the Archdiocese sought about planning to demolish the structure's remnants. The Archdiocese offered the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest the opportunity to propose a plan for rebuilding a new church on the same site. As another option, the Archdiocese offered a South Side church that was available for occupancy. The Archdiocese renewed its lease with the Institute for continued use of the rectory and parking lot.
On Feb. 28, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced the Shrine of Christ the King Catholic Church will be rebuilt, and ownership will be transferred from the archdiocese to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
The archdiocese said the institute received sufficient funding for repairs on the historic building, reports Crux.
In the meantime, congregants have been using a temporary worship space at a neighboring Presbyterian church.
Coalition officials estimate it could cost up to $6 million to restore the church.
"We express our deep gratitude to all the individuals and organizations whose most generous and timely donations helped bring us to this moment. We are mindful of the dangerous condition of the Shrine and will begin stabilization immediately with funds already collected," said Reverend Canon Matthew L. Talarico, Provincial Superior for the Institute in the United States. "We are grateful to the Archdiocese for its partnership throughout our ministry in Woodlawn, especially during this difficult time. Since the day of the fire the collaboration with the Archdiocese has been remarkable: frequent communication, hard work and prayer."
To celebrate God's blessings of moving forward, the Institute invited the public to a festive Mass on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, in the Shrine's current Mass location at First Presbyterian Church. Afterward, a St. Joseph Table luncheon reception with refreshments also will be held in the church hall of the same building.