Vatican City, May 4, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Thirty-three new recruits will be sworn into the Pontifical Swiss Guards at 5pm tomorrow in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. Members of the Roman Curia, and Swiss civil and religious authorities will be present at the event.
At 7:30 a.m. Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, will preside at Mass at the Altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica for the Swiss Guards and their family members.
At 8:45 a.m. there will be a ceremony in the Honor Courtyard of the Swiss Guard Barracks in Vatican City to honor the fallen members of the Corps. May 6 is one of the most significant dates in the history of the Swiss Guard, and was chosen for the swearing-in of the new recruits because it is the day when 147 Swiss Guards died protecting Pope Clement VII against the army of Emperor Charles V, during the Sack of Rome in 1527.
The main duty of the Pontifical swiss Guard, founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II, is to protect the person of the Supreme Pontiff and the Apostolic Palaces.