Chalice Restored for Papal Visit is Back in Washington D.C.
2/26/2008 – EOC Staff
A 1938 chalice that will be used when Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass during his April 15-20 visit to the United States has come and gone at F.C. Ziegler Co., where the silver and gold-plated chalice was restored to its original glory.
Don Taylor, refinishing department manager of F.C. Ziegler Co. in Tulsa, said that he considered it a great honor to work on the project.
“When you get a piece like that, and you know who will use it and who has used it in the past, I’m absolutely nervous, yes,” the parishioner of St. Cecilia Church in Claremore said Feb. 15, when work still was under way.
Within a week, the chalice had been returned to the papal nunciature, the Vatican’s embassy in Washington D.C. which requested Ziegler to take on the restoration. The chalice has been used by previous popes who made pilgrimages to the United States including Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI, and possibly other pontiffs.
A Ziegler’s customer who lives in Washington D.C. and has worked with the apostolic nuncio recommended the family-owned Tulsa firm as “the best in the industry,” Mr. Taylor told the Tulsa World.
He and his team removed the rubies, sapphires and glass medallions that adorn the chalice and cleaned and polished it before recoating the sterling silver chalice with a 24-carat gold finish.
Mr. Taylor estimated it would cost perhaps $12,000 to $15,000 to create such a chalice today. The chalice was manufactured in London in the spring of 1938.
The chalice is typically cleaned once or twice every week by nuns, Mr. Taylor said, and the finish simply worn off.
Pope Benedict XVI is due to arrive in Washington D.C. April 15, where he will meet with President George W. Bush and celebrate Mass both privately and in public. Bishop Edward J. Slattery of Tulsa said he will be present to meet with the pope at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and concelebrate Mass in the new Nationals Park.
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