By Vatican News
Receiving the new recruits, who have chosen to dedicate “a period of their youth in the service of the Successor of Peter,” the Pope on Friday emphasized the crucial role of the family in the transmission of the faith. “The presence of your family members expresses the devotion of Swiss Catholics to the Holy See, as well as the moral education and good example by which parents have passed on to their children the Christian faith and the sense of generous service to their neighbour,” he said.
Pope Francis also took the opportunity to recall the “illustrious past” of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps. He told them his thoughts turned in particular to the “Sack of Rome,” which saw the Swiss Guards courageously defend the Pope, to the point of giving their lives.
“The memory of that event,” he said, “may evoke in you the danger of a spiritual ‘plundering’.”
“In today’s social context,” the Pope continued, “many young people run the risk of being stripped of their souls, when they follow ideals and lifestyles that respond only to material desires or needs.”
Swiss Guards and Rome
Pope Francis expressed the hope that the new recruits would make the most of all the positive things the city of Rome has to offer. “It is rich in history, culture and faith; therefore, take advantage of the opportunities offered to you to enhance your cultural, linguistic and spiritual background,” he said.
“The time you will spend here is a unique moment in your life,” the Pope commented. “May you live it in a spirit of fraternity, helping one another to lead a meaningful and joyfully Christian life.”
Fidelity to Christ
Pope Francis told the new guards, “The oath that you will take the day after tomorrow is also a declaration of fidelity to your baptismal vocation, that is, to Christ, who calls you to be men and Christians, protagonists of your existence.”
He went on to say, “With His help and the power of the Holy Spirit, you will serenely face the obstacles and challenges of life. Do not forget that the Lord is always at your side: I sincerely hope that you will always feel His consoling presence.”
In conclusion, Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the entire Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps “not only for what you do, but also for how you do it.”
Then, quoting Saint Teresa of Calcutta, he said, “at the end of our lives we will not be judged for how many things we have done, but for how much love we have put into those things.”
The swearing-in ceremony of the 38 new guards was due to take place on May 4. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, it will now take place on 4 October. The ceremony will also be held behind closed doors, in accordance with current protection regulations.