.- The Pontifical Swiss Guard plans to swear-in 30 new recruits during a Thursday ceremony which will also commemorate the 147 guards who died in the Sack of Rome.
Thursday’s ceremony will begin with a Mass for the guard, their families and friends in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Mass will be presided over by the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
Following the Mass, a ceremony will take place in the courtyard of the Swiss Guard barracks.
Daniel Rudolf Anrig, Commander of the Swiss Guard, will lay a laurel wreath on the monument commemorating the 147 Swiss Guardsmen who gave their lives defending Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome in 1527. Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, will then confer military decorations on deserving members of the Guard.
In the evening, 30 new recruits will be sworn in as members of the Guard, an elite force charged with the task of safeguarding the Pope. The recruits, per guard requirements, must be between 19 and 30 years old, faithful Roman Catholics and Swiss citizens. Guardsmen commit to serving a minimum of 25 months, after which they can chose to leave or be promoted to sergeant.
Among those present at this year's swearing-in ceremony will be Doris Leuthard, president of the Swiss Confederation, and Peter Stutz, chief-of-staff, who will represent the Swiss army. Also participating as guest of honor will be the council of the Canton of San Gallen. The town band of the city of Uzwil will play a concert in the courtyard of the barracks on May 7.