The Vatican announced today its final plans for the celebration of the fifth centenary of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, the world’s oldest standing military corps.
The celebration will open on Sunday, January 22nd, when Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano will preside at Mass in the Sistine Chapel for the 110 active members of the Guard as well as their families.
Simultaneously, Cardinal Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P. will celebrate Mass in the cathedral of St. Nicholas in Fribourg, Switzerland, where more than 500 former Swiss Guard members will be gathered with their families.
At noontime, a guard of honor, made up of 70 members of the corps will be on hand in St. Peter’s Square for Pope Benedict XVI’s Angelus prayer where they will receive a papal blessing.
This will reenact an event from 500 years ago performed by Pope Julius II. Former guards gathered in Fribourg will be able to follow the events via live television.
The Vatican also noted that the day will conclude with a presentation of a special commemorative papal medal, made for the occasion. This will take place in the Courtyard of Honor of the Swiss Guard.