October 8th 2015
“Our community will rebuild”
That is the statement the Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, Provincial Superior of the US Province of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, would like to pass on to the many friends, benefactors, and residents of the city of Chicago regarding the October 7th fire that has devastated for a second time the historic church, now known as the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, on 64th and Woodlawn. Thankfully, nobody was injured in the extra-alarm blaze. We are also very grateful to the Archbishop of Chicago, the Most Reverend Blase Cupich for expressing his support and prayers at this time from Rome.
The 92-year-old church landmark was in the second phase of a six million dollar renovation when fire broke out Wednesday morning destroying large parts of the roof, the choir loft, some of the windows, and apparently most of the interior furnishings of the church. The damage from water and smoke in the church and sacristy is extensive with early estimates running upwards of 3 million dollars.
The renovation of the church also positively touched the local community by reviving the cultural life of the neighborhood, offering concerts and social events that edified many. Mike Medina, president of the Woodlawn Residents Association, said “From organizing block clean-up days and hosting meetings with city and civic leaders, to promoting local businesses and teaching hockey to neighborhood youth, the Shrine of Christ the King has been a tireless advocate for Woodlawn and serves our neighborhood with a giving and gracious heart. We stand together with the Shrine!”
“It was beautiful inside.” Nicole Raciunas, a regular member of the Shrine community said. “I know it’s a building, but it is our home. We’re just always here. We did the best we could to make it a beautiful place for God.” Sister Therese O’Sullivan, who runs the shelter next door for women and children said, “I know the spirit of the priests there and this will not stop them. I’m sure they will rebuild.”
We invite everyone to a special High Mass which will be celebrated by Msgr. Michael Schmitz, Vicar General of our worldwide Institute, this coming Sunday, October 11th, at 12:30pm at St. Thomas the Apostle Church on 5472 S. Kimbark Ave., Chicago, IL 60615.
If you would like to contact the Shrine for interviews, please contact our emergency hotline at (708) 761-0285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to support and help the Shrine recently devastated by the fire, please go to the Institute’s main page on www.institute-christ-king.org or http://www.gofundme.com/ShrineFireFund.
We invite you to remain in contact with us on the ongoing development of this community story on social media: