A group of 13 Salvadorans and one Guatemalan are working full time to put to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. in shape for Pope Benedict XVI’s meeting with the U.S. bishops on April 16, the second day of his upcoming visit.
According to the site Elsalvador.com, the workers’ tasks include everything from installing the papal throne to cleaning every corner of the Cathedral.
Esdras Segovia and Edwin Argueta are in charge of polishing up the gold and pastel colored mosaics. Argueta, who has been in the US since 1980, said, “We are polishing all of the mosaics and statues because the church needs to be spotless and a part of the team will have to be inside the church when the Pope enters.”
Maximiliano Perez Cubas, also from El Salvador, is responsible for decorating and coloring the wooden platform upon which the papal throne will be installed for Benedict XVI’s meeting with the US bishops.
Perez Cubas came to the U.S. 27 years ago and works with his sons William and Cristian near the main altar of the Basilica. “They brought in a solid marble platform but it was very small and the team from the Vatican said ‘No’, so they sent the measurements and height off to have this other one made, because not only will the Pope be sitting here, there will be seats on both sides of him as well,” he said.
Cristian and William follow the detailed instructions of their father in preparing the papal platform. “The first thing is to prepare the panels that will go on the floor so that it is read for the throne to be installed—which they have already brought in—and then will come the final touches,” Perez Cubas said.