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In October 2008, Mormon officials announced with great enthusiasm that a temple would be built in Rome and, two years later, LDS President Thomas S. Monson participated in the groundbreaking for the sacred structure, with an estimated completion date in the second half of 2014.

Now work on the temple in the Eternal City has stalled and Italian Mormons are worried.

So, on Sunday, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the boot-shaped nation had a daylong fast — going without food and water — hoping their sacrifice and prayers would make a difference.

LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins confirmed the slowdown, which he attributed to "contractor difficulties not related to this project."

Hawkins, speaking from church headquarters in Salt Lake City, said the "challenges have been addressed and work will soon resume at a normal pace."

Mormon officials "are grateful that our members have extended their faith and prayers," Hawkins said, "and sought heaven's help in seeing this important project through to completion."

No date, he said, has been set for the building's completion.

Peggy Fletcher Stack