.- On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI praised the service to the Church paid by the 500 year-old Swiss Guard during the ceremony of reception of 38 new recruits who on Sunday took the oath "To the Holy Trinity" as members of the corps.
Speaking in German, French and Italian -the three official languages of Switzerland, where the guards are recruited- Benedict XVI pointed out how the Pontifical Swiss Guard has "a long history of loyalty and of generous and dedicated service, sometimes performed even unto the heroic sacrifice of life."
He also expressed his gratitude for "your silent but effective presence at the Pope's side. Thank you for the professionalism and for the love with which you undertake your mission," said the Pontiff.
"Indeed, yours is not just a professional service," he added, "it is also a true mission in the service of Christ and of His Church. The Lord calls you to sanctity, in other words to be His disciples, always ready to listen to His voice, to undertake His will and to accomplish it in your daily duties."
"This,â the Pope added, âwill help to make you 'good Christians' and at the same time 'exemplary soldiers,' animated by that evangelical spirit that makes of all the baptized a 'leavening' to ferment the dough and a 'light' to illuminate and warm the workplace and the home."