.- This morning, Pope Benedict received 31 new Swiss Guard recruits who took their official oaths this afternoon at the Vatican.
The swearing-in ceremony of the Pontifical Swiss Guard was held in the San Damaso courtyard of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace while family and friends accompanied the new recruits in their meeting with the Pope.
The Holy Father spoke in German, French and Italian, and expressed his joy "that the traditional oath of recruits is taking place a few days after the start of my pontificate, so I can express to you my recognition, my thanks and my encouragement."
Addressing a special greeting to the new recruits, the Holy Father expressed the desire that over these days "you may deepen your faith and your union with Peter's Successor, the visible head of the Universal Church. May your service further improve the liturgical acts and the numerous meetings."
Noting the fact that each of the recruits had different reasons for joining the Swiss Guard, Pope Benedict pointed out the importance to live the experience fully so as to "give rise to a true spiritual bond between you.”
“This spirit”, he said, “of the Swiss Guard is nourished by the glorious tradition of almost five centuries of a small army with great ideals."
These ideals, said the Pope are "firmness of Catholic faith, a convinced and convincing Christian way of life, unshakeable trust and a profound love for the Church and for the Vicar of Christ, conscientiousness and perseverance in the small and great tasks of daily service, courage and humility, attention to others and humanity."
"In the person of the Pope," Benedict concluded, "you serve the entire Church; put your youthful energy, and your interior vitality and freshness at her service.”
“Looking at you, dear friends, I remember what I said during the inaugural liturgical celebration of my pontificate: 'the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future.' You, dear guards, can and must provide an example and a living witness of this."