The Vatican is preparing to swear in 32 recruits as members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard tomorrow at five in the evening. The ceremony is celebrated every year on May 6 to commemorate the death of the 147 Swiss Guards who died during the Sack of Rome.
Tomorrow the recruits will begin their day with Mass at seven, along with the Swiss Guards and their families at St. Peter’s Basilica.
At 8:30 a.m., Commander of the Swiss Guard Daniel Rudolf Anrig, will place a laurel wreath at the monument in the courtyard of the Swiss Guard barracks commemorating the 147 members of the corps who lost their lives protecting Pope Clement VII from the onslaught of the troops of Emperor Charles V during the Sack of Rome on May 6, 1527.
Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, will then confer military decorations on certain members of the Guard.
Among those present at the swearing-in ceremony will be Major-General Andre Blattman, the new commander-in-chief of the Swiss Armed Forces. Also participating as guest of honor will be the Council of the Canton of Zurich.
"With the participation of a guest Canton at the swearing-in of the new recruits," says a statement released by the Swiss Guard, "the corps intends to promote and strengthen ties with Switzerland and its regions."
The Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II in 1506 when he called on the States of the "Confederatis Superioris Allemanniae" to allow him to recruit young men to form a Pontifical Guard. The Guard was established on January 22, 1506 with a contingent of 150 men who had marched on foot from Lucerne to Rome along the pilgrim route known as the Via Francigena.
The main duty of the Swiss Guard - which has as its motto "Acriter et Fideliter" (Courage and Loyalty) - was and still remains that of guarding the person of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic Palaces.