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Holy Hill shrine plans fund drive for rebuilding

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ERIN, Wis. — The Holy Hill shrine hopes some of the thousands of people who flock there each year will give some cash in return.

The Roman Catholic religious group that owns the historic site is about to launch a fund-raising drive for a major reconstruction.

The church stands on a glacial hill, the highest point in southeastern Wisconsin. The shrine, with its twin steeples, broad roof and round arches and ceilings, is deteriorating.

The roof and steeples leak. Plaster hangs in some places, and flakes of it fall onto pews in the upper church. A bucket collects dripping water in the choir loft.

The fund-raising campaign is expected to start within the next year. It would be the first capital campaign since the Carmelite priests came to Holy Hill in 1906.

The renovation could cost several million dollars, and the group has never asked for such a large sum before. Smaller donations have helped pay for daily upkeep of Holy Hill, the National Shrine of Mary, since the main church opened in 1931.