32 New Swiss Guards Promise to Protect Pope

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Today in the courtyard of the Vatican apostolic palace, 32 new recruits were added to the ranks of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, currently led by Commander Daniel Anrig.

May 6 is the traditional swearing-in day for new guards because on that day in 1527, some 150 members of the Swiss Guard lost their lives during the sack of Rome, protecting Pope Clement VII and the Church from the onslaught of Emperor Charles V’s troops.

Today’s events included a Mass for the recruits and their families, celebrated by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The swearing-in ceremony took place in the presence of members of the Roman Curia, diplomatic representatives and civil and religious authorities from Switzerland, including Major-General Andre Blattman, the new commander-in-chief of the Swiss armed forces.

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