ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE PONTIFICAL SWISS GUARD,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE OATH OF THE NEW GUARDS (FULL MASS Video at Bottom)
Thursday, 6 May 2021
Dear officers and members of the Swiss Guard!
Dear family members!
On the occasion of the swearing in of the recruits, I am pleased to welcome you to the house of the Successor of Peter. I greet Colonel Christoph Graf, who leads the Swiss Guard Corps, the Chaplain, the Officers, the Non-Commissioned Officers and all the members of the Corps with great dedication. I welcome the parents who join this celebration: their presence testifies to the attachment of many Swiss Catholics to the Church, and in particular to the See of Peter.
The places where new recruits are called to serve are loaded with history; since the creation of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, many young people have carried out with commitment and fidelity that particular mission that the Corps continues to carry out today. Some have gone so far as to sacrifice their lives to defend the Pope.
As you well know, the functions of the Swiss Guard, while having a military character, constitute a special service to the Supreme Pontiff and to the Apostolic See for the benefit of the entire Church. It is therefore a reason for great appreciation that young people choose to dedicate a few years of their existence in generous availability to the Successor of Peter and to the ecclesial community. The Lord sometimes calls some of you to follow him on the path of the priesthood or consecrated life, finding available land cultivated precisely during the time of service in the Guard. Others, on the other hand, follow the conjugal vocation and form their own family. I thank the Lord with you, the source of all good, for the various gifts and the various vocations he entrusts to you,
This circumstance gives me the opportunity to publicly thank all members of the Swiss Guard for the diligent performance of their service. I very much appreciate your ability to combine professional and spiritual aspects, thus expressing your devotion and fidelity to the Apostolic See. For their part, pilgrims and tourists who come to Rome have the opportunity to experience the courtesy and helpfulness of the guards at the various entrances of the Vatican City. Never forget these qualities, which represent a beautiful witness and are the sign of the Church's welcome.
I extend my sincere wishes to the young recruits and I hope they can have fruitful spiritual and human experiences both in the Vatican and in the city of Rome. May these years that you will spend here be an opportunity for a deepening of your faith and an even stronger love for the Church. I accompany you with my prayers and I thank you for choosing to make a few years of your life available to the Successor of Peter. You too, please pray for me.
With these sentiments, I wish you a happy feast and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you present here and to the entire Pontifical Swiss Guard.