South Side church continues to rebuild one year after devestating fire

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CHICAGO -- One year after a historic Chicago church was nearly destroyed in a fire, it’s well on its way to being rebuilt.

The Shrine of Christ the King Church at 64th St and Woodlawn Ave on Chicago’s South Side has become a symbol of both pain and perseverance.

A year ago this week, the church, a Roman Catholic house of worship in Woodlawn, burned for hours.

“It was a nightmare come true,” said Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico, Provincial Superior of the Institute of Christ the King.

The church is a designated historic landmark and a community cornerstone, but it was nearly condemned. In fact, it was slated for demolition when the archdiocese decided rebuilding would be too costly.

“It will take us close to $3 million to put the roof back on and do the essential masonry repairs,” Rev. Talarico said. “Then there will also be more work to be done afterwards.”

But Rev. Talarico knew he had to save the sacred place and convinced the archdiocese to deed the building to the Institute for Christ the King, his community of Catholic priests.

So far, he’s raised 1.5 million dollars of the estimated 5 million needed to finish the rebuilding

“Faith gives us strength that if we work together with the blessing of God, we’ll be able to come together and be stronger even after difficult circumstances,” he said.

On Saturday, the parish will hold a Mass and a rally across the street as a way of announcing to the community that it’s cornerstone is staying put.

More info:

Official restoration progress page:
GoFundMe page: