New Swiss guards receive encouragement from Pope Benedict

.- Meeting with new members of the Swiss Guard on Friday, the Holy Father invited them to meditate on the actions of St. Peter after the Resurrection to find the meaning of their work. For all people, he said, working in Jesus’ name “transforms us and makes us a little more like the new man regenerated in Christ.”

After attending Mass at St. Peter’s with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on Thursday morning and taking their solemn oath to serve God and protect the Pope that evening, the 30 new Swiss Guards and their parents met with Pope Benedict XVI on Friday. The audience was held within the frescoed walls and ceiling of the Clementine Hall, and the Pope spoke to the group in each of their three representative languages: German, French and Italian.

Starting in his own native language, the Holy Father recalled the history of the corps and the significance of the newly sworn-in guards as its “visible guardians.” He asked them to carry on the tradition of service to the Pontiff with “generous commitment” and hoped that in their work they “may mature as individuals and as Christians.”

Continuing in French, the Pope recalled the indirect, “but real,” association of the Pontifical Swiss Guard to St. Peter’s service to the Church. He asked them to meditate on the passage in the Acts of the Apostles when Peter manifests his “solicitude,” or concern, for the faithful in visiting them after the Resurrection.

In these verses, said the Pope, the guards will find the meaning of their noble undertaking.

He added that he himself "wishes to show that solicitude to all Churches and to each of the faithful, and to everyone who expects something from the Church."

“Your service will bring you to discover, in the face of each man and woman, a pilgrim seeking another face through which to receive a living sign of the Lord,” he observed.

"We know,” he said in closing in Italian, "that everything we do in Jesus' name, however humble it may be, transforms us and makes us a little more like the new man regenerated in Christ. Thus your service to the Petrine ministry will give you a livelier sense of Catholicism, together with a more profound perception of the dignity of all mankind."

Taking part in two days of ceremony and celebration for the 30 recruits and the corps’ new commanding officer, the Pope entrusted the Guards, their families and friends to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the corps’ three patron saints, Sts. Sebastian, Martin and Nicholas of Flue.

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