Loading
Pope encourages new Swiss Guards to be saintly soldiers
By David Kerr

.- Pope Benedict XVI encouraged the new class of recruits for the Swiss Guard to draw close to Christ as they embark on their roles as the pontiff's guardians.

“To give love to others it is necessary to draw upon the furnace of divine charity, thanks to prolonged periods of prayer, constant listening to the Word of God, and a whole life centered on the mystery of the Eucharist,” he said May 7.

“The secret of the effectiveness of your work here in the Vatican, as well as in all your projects is, therefore, the constant reference to Christ.”

Pope Benedict addressed the Corp of the Swiss Guard a day after they welcomed 26 new recruits. The newcomers' family and friends were also present for Monday’s papal audience in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace as well as representatives of the Swiss civil authorities.

In his remarks, the Pope told them to take advantage of their time spent in Rome in order “to develop your friendship with Christ, to increase your love for his Church and to advance towards the goal of each true Christian life: sanctity.”

The Pontifical Swiss Guard dates back to 1506, and new members can serve between 2 and 25 years defending the Vatican.

Recruits must be single male Swiss citizens, between the age of 19 and 30, who are practicing Catholics with a “good ethical moral background.” They must also have a professional degree or high school diploma and have attended a military college in Switzerland. The minimum height requirement is 174 centimeters or 5 feet, 7 inches. 

“It is heartening to see that young men choose to consecrate a number of years of their lives to helping Peter's Successor and his collaborators,” Pope Benedict told them.

“Your work is part of a tradition of unquestioned fidelity to the Pope, which became heroic sacrifice during the ‘Sack of Rome’ in 1527 when, on 6 May, your predecessors lost their lives,” he recalled.

On that occasion, 147 Swiss Guards were killed defending Pope Clement VII from the mutinous troops of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.

Pope Benedict also identified the characteristics which “distinguish each member of the corps” as “steadfastness in the Catholic faith, loyalty and love towards the Church of Jesus Christ, diligence and perseverance in the small and large daily tasks, courage and humility, selflessness and availability.”

“These virtues,” he said, “must be filled your heart when you give the service of honor and security in the Vatican.”

On May 6, new members took their oath in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of the Vatican’s Deputy Secretary of State, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu. In turn each man clasped the flag of the Swiss Guard, raised a three finger salute in honor of the Holy Trinity and promised to defend Pope Benedict and his successors “sacrificing if necessary also my life.”

Earlier in the day, the guards had attended a special Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica offered by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. Both deacons assisting Cardinal Bertone at the altar were former Swiss Guards.

“I thank God, the source of all goodness, for the various gifts and missions He gives you,” Pope Benedict added, “and I pray that you too, as you begin your service, may respond to the call of Christ, following Him with faithful generosity.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
16

Liturgical Calendar

April 16, 2014

Wednesday of Holy Week

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Gospel
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 50:4-9a
Gospel:: Mt 26:14-25

Homily of the Day

Mt 26:14-25

Homily
Date
04/16/14
04/14/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: