Greeting the 23 new Swiss Guard recruits and their families ahead of their swearing-in ceremony in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace on Monday, the Pope expressed the hope that their service in the Vatican and their time spent in Rome would bring those they encounter “a word of comfort and a gesture of brotherhood, so that they may become convincing witnesses of the risen Christ, alive and present in every age.”
In this way, he continued, “you will live your Christian vocation in a fruitful way, rooted in Baptism, the origin of faith.”
Bear witness to the faith with joy
Pope Francis said that during their stay in Rome, the guards were called to bear witness to their faith with joy, so that the many people they met, “especially at the entrances to Vatican City,” would be impressed by the spirit with which they performed their duties.
During his address, the Pontiff asked each one of the new recruits to make sure that everyone they encountered in their daily duties would also discover through them, the love of God for every person.
“This is the first mission of every Christian”, he said.
Everyone in the service of the Holy See, underlined the Pope, needed “to be witnesses and apostles of personal and community renewal.”
Pope Francis noted that their time as Swiss Guards would give them the opportunity to build on their ethical and spiritual principles. This learning curve, the Pope pointed out, “will help you to live in society with the right attitude, recognizing cultural, religious and social diversity as human wealth and not as a threat.”
He added, “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.”
The swearing-in ceremony of the 23 new recruits will take place in the St. Damasus Courtyard in the Vatican on Monday 6th May. The date of the event commemorates the 147 Swiss Guards who fell defending Pope Clement VII during the Sack of Rome in 1527.
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