Shrine of Christ responds to Archdiocese with video

By SAM RAPPAPORT
Staff Writer

The Coalition to Save The Shrine has released a statement and video in response to the Archdiocese’s recent procurement of a demolition permit for the Shrine of Christ the King Church, 6401 S. Woodlawn Ave.

While the Archdiocese said that it will remain in dialogue with the leadership of Shrine of Christ the King about alternatives to demolition, the Catholic authority’s move to obtain the demolition permit from city hall last week sent a wave of anxiety through community members and church-goers who hope to see the building restored.

On Monday, Feb. 22, The Coalition to Save The Shrine, which is comprised of parishioners and Woodlawn residents, released a video online advocating for the church’s survival. According to the coalition, the video has already reached over 100,000 Facebook newsfeeds in the Chicagoland area.

The short, narrated video describes Shrine of Christ as a beacon of hope in the economically depressed Woodlawn neighborhood.

“In the last decade, The Shrine has become the cornerstone for the revitalization and rebuilding of this diverse, struggling community,” said a narrator in the coalition’s video. “The people of Woodlawn knew that the last thing they needed was another empty lot.”

Woodlawn resident, Coalition to Save The Shrine member and past editor of the Hyde Park Herald Gabriel Piemonte said that the demolition of the church would be akin to the eviction of hundreds of Woodlawn residents.

“We have lost a lot to demolition,” Piemonte said. “We really can’t afford to lose this beautiful building with a warm and loving congregation that has, over the years, become an integral part of the Woodlawn family.”

According to the Coalition, pledges in excess of $650,000 have been raised for the stabilization of the landmark structure.

s.rappaport@hpherald.com