SANTIAGO – The organizing commission for Pope Francis’s visit to Chile next week presented Monday the vestments the pontiff will use in the three Masses he will celebrate in Santiago, Temuco in the south and Iquique in the north.
In tailoring the albs, chasubles, miters and stoles for Francis, their creators were inspired by Chile’s ancestral cultures, in a project that took four months to complete, Helen Silva, designer of the vestments, told reporters.
“We met with people in the north, center and south of the country to work each concept and every detail,” she said, adding that the cloth used was poly cotton fabric.
“It all looks simple, but it’s full of symbolism. There could have been a greater combination of colors, but each venue is represented by a single tone,” said Jose Antonio Soler, supervisor of the workshop where the fabrics were made.
The design has three elements: a petroglyph represents Iquique in the north, a grapevine symbolizes Santiago and the central valleys, and a Mapuche cross is used for the south.
A sandy color was used to denote the northern desert, green represents the crops of the central valleys, while red denotes the bloodline and strength of the Mapuche people, he said.
Meanwhile, according to a survey published Monday by the Cadem Plaza Publica research firm, 52 percent of Chileans have a “very positive or positive” view of Pope Francis, compared with 71 percent in the last study.
At the same time, 26 percent said they have a very negative or negative view of the pontiff, 15 percent more than the 12 percent who had the same opinion in the last survey.
Some 98 percent of respondents said they’re aware of the pope’s upcoming visit to Chile between January 15-18, but 50 percent consider the visit “not very or not at all important,” 26 percent believe it is “somewhat important” and 23 percent say it is “fairly or very important.”
Last June, 43 percent of respondents considered the visit “fairly or very important, while 26 percent described it as “not very or not at all important.