undertaken by past members of the Guard, is part of the Holy See’s
ceremonies celebrating fifth centenary of the group’s 1506 founding.
In his address
to former and current members of the Swiss Guard, Pope Benedict greeted
them in German, French and Italian, recalling the group’s ceremonial
entry into Rome.
"To greet you,"
said the Pope, "is the successor of Julius II, whose name is forever
linked to the Pontifical Swiss Guard. ... I congratulate you for this
wonderful initiative which reminds us of the valor of those 150 Swiss
citizens who, with great generosity, defended even unto death the
person of the reigning pontiff, writing with their sacrifice an
important page in the history of the Church."
He went on,
saying that "Considering these five centuries, we give thanks to God
for the good your predecessors have done, and for the priceless
contribution the Swiss Guard continues to make to the Holy See in our
a 720 kilometer trek from Switzerland to Rome, Pope Benedict XVI
thanked members of the Swiss Guard who had traced the historic route of
their predecessors 500 years ago to protect Pope Julius II and the
Catholic Church from its enemies.