[Source: The Associated Press] – – The White Dove of the Desert is living up to its nickname again, its west tower refurbished, resplendent in a dazzling white finish once more. The tower at Mission San Xavier del Bac emerged just before Christmas from the scaffolding that restoration workers had being using _ like a butterfly shedding its cocoon, said architect Bob Vint, who spearheaded the five-year, $2.5 million project. Now, it’s on to restoring the east tower of the 226-year-old Roman Catholic church, which is still an active parish for southern Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Indians. Its towers are visible for miles, and their restoration is intended to ensure that the structure remains intact.
“The interior of the mission is what it’s all about,” said Vint. “All of this exterior work is being done to protect the interior.” The mission, sometimes called “the Sistine Chapel of the United States” and the “White Dove of the Desert,” is considered the finest example of Spanish colonial architecture in the country. The walls of its Byzantine-influenced interior are ablaze with frescoes, a religious gallery of work painted directly on its walls by missionaries two centuries ago. [Note: to read the full article click here.]