Pope Francis Tells New Swiss Guards "I urge you to live it as a Christian and community witness." FULL TEXT



Sala Clementina
Friday, 6 May 2022

Dear officers and members of the Swiss Guard!

Dear brothers and sisters!

Your annual party, with the Oath of the Recruits, is a great opportunity to meet and welcome the parents and family members who join you in these moments that are so significant. I welcome all of you! I greet and thank Colonel Christoph Graf, the Chaplain, the Officers, also the new Deputy Commander - welcome! -, the NCOs and all the members of the Corps. I address a special thought to you new recruits, who, through the oath, will be introduced into the great family of the Swiss Guard.   

 With this you are ready to dedicate a few years of your life to a fascinating and, at the same time, task full of responsibility in the heart of the universal Church.

The places where you will be called to carry out your service are full of a history marked by the heroic self-denial of so many servants of the Apostolic See, including not a few Swiss. Since the establishment of the Swiss Guard, many young people have fulfilled the unique function assigned to it, which continues today. Through a generous and faithful commitment, over the centuries some have not escaped the hardest trials, going so far as to shed their blood to defend the Pope and allow him to carry out his mission in full independence. With their supreme dedication they have fulfilled the provisions of the Regulations still in force: the safety of the person of the Pope and of his residence.

Dear recruits, you have chosen to dedicate yourselves to an exquisitely ecclesial task; I urge you to live it as a Christian and community witness. Your activity, in fact, is not carried out individually, but as a community: it is not for nothing that you are called the "Corps" of the Swiss Guard. May you realize this community dimension every day, both during the hours - not always easy - of service, and in the daily life of the barracks, which includes moments of leisure, conviviality, meeting and prayer. Living service in a community sense is also a challenge, because it involves amalgamating individuals with different personalities, temperaments and sensitivities, who find themselves walking a stretch of road together. However, the ideal of serving the Church, in the person of the Successor of Peter,

Dear Swiss Guards, I encourage you to always give due importance to training. The efforts dedicated to it are indispensable for acquiring adequate suitability and professional competence. But first of all the stay in Rome should be valued in order to grow as Christians. I am thinking of the spiritual life, which allows us to discover God's plan for each of us. At the same time, I urge you to cultivate reciprocal relationships, both in the fulfillment of the tasks entrusted to you, and in your free time, so that they may be in the style of brothers who profess to be Christians. A sincere and fraternal dialogue can sometimes be tiring, it can be demanding as well, but it is important for developing the personality.

I take this opportunity to thank the entire Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps for the timely and precious collaboration of every day, of which I am a direct witness. The Holy See is counting on you! The Vatican City is proud of your presence in its territory!

Now I would like to stop in a moment of pain and sadness. And I would like your colleague Silvan Wolf to be here. Unfortunately he is missing, a good boy, with joy, cheerful. An accident tore him from us. In silence, let us remember Silvan and pray for him.

I entrust you, your families, your friends and all those who, on the occasion of the oath, came to Rome, to the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God, of the patrons San Martino and San Sebastiano, and of the protector of the Swiss Confederation, San Nicola da Flüe, and I cordially impart my Blessing to you. Please don't forget to pray for me. Thanks.