New Home for Christ the King

by Rodney Pelletier  •  •  November 17, 2015   

Local Presbyterians come to the aid of displaced Catholics

You are not signed in as a Premium user; we rely on Premium users to support our news reporting. Sign in or Sign up today!

CHICAGO ( - A local Presbyterian church is allowing Catholics to use their gymnasium for Mass after a fire destroyed the roof of the Shrine of Christ the King outside of Chicago.

Over a month ago fire tore through the church early in the morning. Volunteers had been refinishing the floor the night before. Fire department detectives conclude the chemical-laden rags spontaneously combusted some time in the early morning. Fire burned from the front of the church to the back, destroying most of the roof. Over 150 firefighters worked for several hours to put the fire out. Fortunately other buildings, including a rectory and a school building, weren't damaged.

The shrine was a 90-year-old church that had already suffered a fire in the 1970s. A renovation project had just begun, but last month's fire caused more than $3 million in damage, putting that on hold and forcing them to begin all over again.

Pews are moved into the gym.

Since then, devotees of the Traditional Latin Mass haven't had a place to hold their Mass — until members of a local Presbyterian church spoke up. They had a gymnasium they hadn't used in 15 years, so they graciously offered it to the Catholics for temporary use. Volunteers moved in pews and other items saved from the fire's destruction, and they were able to have Mass again for the first time last Sunday.

Reverend Canon Matthew Talarico said to local news (WLS), "We're just inches from the ashes here and that's very significant, very symbolic of our resurrection of our community — being so close to home and rising up again."

The shrine is the provincial headquarters of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a Catholic group outside the jurisdiction of the archdiocese of Chicago but directly under the Pope in Rome. They exclusively use the rite of the Mass of 1962 instead of the more commonly used Mass of 1970. They also use the older forms of the various sacraments of the Church. The Institute has several churches throughout the United States as well as churches in Great Britain, Ireland and Europe.

Masses are being held at the gymnasium on Sundays and in the rectory building's chapel on weekdays. It's not yet known how long it will take to restore the church. They are currently accepting donations for help with the rebuilding.


Have a news tip? Submit news to our tip line.

We rely on you to support our news reporting. Please donate today.
By commenting on you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our comment posting guidelines