SPEECH OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
AT THE PONTIFICAL SWISS GUARDS,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE NEW JURISDICTIONS
Saturday, 4 May 2019
Dear friends of the Swiss Guard!
I am pleased to welcome you and to address a cordial greeting to each one of you, your family, your friends, the Authorities and all those who have wished to take part in these days of celebration. To all of you, dear Guards, I renew my most sincere thanks for your precious and generous service to the Pope and the Church. Every day I can personally experience the dedication, professionalism and love with which you conduct your business. And thank you for this! I especially thank your families, who have kindly accepted your choice to live this service in the Vatican and support you with their affection and their prayer.
Your feast this year falls in the heart of the Easter season, during which the Church invites you to celebrate the beauty of Easter, to relive the Resurrection of Jesus. How can you fruitfully relive this wonderful event? Becoming witnesses of the risen Christ. It is a matter of making the proclamation of the joy of Easter present, spreading the culture of the resurrection, especially in those existential contexts where the culture of death prevailed. You too happen to meet, both during your service in the Vatican and in the time you spend in Rome, people who lie in the contemporary "tombs" of pain, loss and discomfort, and are waiting for a light that will make them reborn to new life . I urge you, dear Guards, to bring them a word of comfort, a gesture of fraternity, to become convincing witnesses to the risen Christ, alive and present at all times. You will thus live your Christian vocation in a fruitful way, rooted in Baptism, the origin of faith.
During your stay in Rome, you are called to witness your faith with joy, so that the many people you meet, especially at the entrances to Vatican City, can be favorably impressed by the spirit in which you do your work. I ask each of you this: make sure that those you meet in your daily service, members of the Curia, work colleagues in various areas of the Vatican, pilgrims or tourists, can also discover through you the love of God for every man. This is the first mission of every Christian!
It is necessary to be strong, supported by faith in Christ, our Savior. We need to be witnesses and apostles of personal and community renewal, because people await from those who are at the service of the Holy See total dedication and holiness of life, which you can achieve both through your service and through community experience. The reality of the barracks teaches some ethical and spiritual principles, which reflect many of the values that must be pursued also in life: dialogue, loyalty, balance in relationships, understanding. You are given the opportunity to experience moments of joy and inevitable moments of difficulty, typical of a collective experience. But above all you have the opportunity to build healthy friendships and train yourself to respect the peculiarities and ideas of others, learning to recognize in the other a brother and a companion with whom to peacefully share a stretch of road. This will help you live in society with the right attitude, recognizing cultural, religious and social diversity as a human wealth and not as a threat. This is particularly important in a world that is experiencing, as never before, huge movements of peoples and people in search of security and a dignified life.
Dear Swiss Guards, I thank you for your diligent work and your generous dedication. I entrust each of you, as well as your precious service, to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary and, as I ask you to pray for me, I gladly impart my Blessing to you, as a sign of affection and sincere gratitude.