By SAM RAPPAPORT
An historic Woodlawn church that suffered severe structural damage after a fire engulfed the building last week is rallying a community in efforts to rebuild.
In the 4 days since a crowd funding campaign was set up online, benefactors have donated almost $38,000 to Shrine of Christ the King church, 6401 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Sunday, Oct. 11, over 150 community members and parishioners gathered outside of the church to show solidarity in the path toward restoration. Attendees prayed from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. and then formed a human chain that surrounded the church’s exterior.
Canon Matthew Talarico, the Provincial Supervisor of the Institute of Christ the King, felt that Sunday’s turnout reflected the importance of the church to the surrounding community.
“It wasn’t surprising,” Talarico said, “But it was beautiful how it came together so quickly. It was a wonderful event.”
Engineers are still evaluating the damage the church sustained from the fire.
“Because of the magnitude of the fire, it’s going to take some time to assess,” Talarico said.
Talarico said that the Archdiocese of Chicago acts as the landlord for the church. After assessments are complete, the Archdiocese will make a decision on how best to move forward with the restoration.
Shrine of Christ the King is holding temporary services at St. Thomas the Apostle church, 5472 S. Kimbark Ave. Daily weekday services will commence at 7 p.m. Talarico said that church officials are still deciding on a new permanent location for Sunday mass.
To make a donation to Shrine of Christ the King, visit gofundme.com/ShrineFireFund.