Pope Francis greets new Swiss Guard recruits

Swiss Guards attend the celebration of Mass in St Peter's on May 6. (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis on May 6 received 34 new members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, ahead of their swearing-in ceremony, telling them that the qualities of courtesy and helpfulness in their work “are a beautiful testimony and a sign of the Church’s welcome.”

Greeting the 34 new Swiss Guards and their families in the Vatican, the pope recalled the history of the Corps and the work many young men have carried out with commitment and fidelity, which continues today.

He also spoke of members of the Swiss Guard that “have gone so far as to sacrifice their own lives to defend the pope.”

Vocation of the Swiss Guard

Pope Francis noted that many people have a calling in life, which means that some men have a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life. Others, he said, “follow the conjugal vocation and form their own families.”

Addressing the new recruits, the pope said, “With you I thank the Lord, the source of all good, for the various gifts and vocations He has entrusted to you, and I pray that those who are now beginning their service may respond fully to Christ’s call, following Him with faithful generosity.”

He also expressed his appreciation that young people “choose to dedicate some years of their lives in generous service to the Successor of Peter and to the ecclesial community.”

Thank you

During his greeting to the new recruits, Pope Francis took the opportunity to publicly thank “all the members of the Swiss Guard for their diligent service.”

“I greatly appreciate your ability to combine professional and spiritual aspects, thus expressing your devotion and fidelity to the Apostolic See,” he said.

Important qualities

The pope went on to say that those pilgrims and tourists who come to Rome, “have the opportunity to experience the courtesy and helpfulness of the guards at the various entrances to Vatican City. Never forget these qualities, which are a beautiful testimony and a sign of the Church’s welcome.”

Concluding his address, Pope Francis extended his good wishes to the young recruits and expressed the hope that the time spent in the Eternal City would be an occasion for a deepening of their faith and an even stronger love for the Church.