TO THE SWISS PONTIFICAL GUARD AND HIS HOST
ON THE OCCASION OF THE OATH BIRTHDAY
Friday, May 4, 2018
Dear officers and members of the Swiss Guard,
Dear brothers and sisters,
To all of you I wish a warm welcome, especially to the recruits as well as their relatives and friends who wanted to take part in these festive days. I greet with deference the representatives of the Swiss authorities who have come for the occasion.
You, dear Guards, have the opportunity to be in service for a certain period in Rome, making a special experience of the universality of the Church. May this time strengthen your faith and increase your sense of belonging to the ecclesial community!
The Swiss Guard provides every day a valuable service to the Successor of Peter, the Curia and the State of the Vatican City. It is a work whose foundation is in persevering fidelity to the Pope, who had a moment of consecration on May 6, 1527, when your predecessors sacrificed their lives during the "sack of Rome". The memory of this heroic gesture is a constant invitation to keep in mind and to realize the qualities proper to the Body: to live coherently the Catholic faith; to persevere in friendship with Jesus and in love for the Church; to be joyous and diligent in the great as in the small and humble daily tasks; courage, patience, generosity and solidarity towards everyone. These are the virtues that you are called to exercise when you make the guard of honor and security in the Vatican, as when you do not wear the uniform. A Swiss Guard, in fact, is always such, both when he is on duty and when he is not!
It is nice to see a young person like you who cares for others, and who is eagerly available to all who are in need. It is not always easy to adopt this attitude, but with the help of the Lord, it is possible. Therefore, do not tire of meeting the Lord Jesus in communal and personal prayer, in listening attentively to the Word of God and in the fervent participation in the Eucharist. The secret to the effectiveness of your work here in the Vatican, as well as in each of your projects, is indeed the constant reference to Christ.
I take this opportunity to renew the expression of my gratitude to the entire body of the Pontifical Swiss Guard. I admire the discipline, the ecclesial sense, the discretion and the austere yet serene professionalism with which you perform your daily service. I give thanks to God for the various gifts He gives you and I assure you of my support and my prayer so that you can make them fruitful. You too, please pray for me and help me to serve the Church also with your prayer.
May the Virgin Mary, whom we honor in a special way during the month of May, and your patron saints assist you and protect you! With these sentiments, with all my heart I give to each one of you the Apostolic Blessing, which I extend to your loved ones and your country.
Source: Vatican.va (Unofficial Translation)