Pope Welcomes 32 New Swiss Guards

Says They Serve More Than the Roman Pontiff

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI welcomed 32 new recruits to the Swiss Guard, telling them their service to the Pope extends to all of Rome and even the universal Church.

The Holy Father spoke to the new guardsmen today in German, French and Italian. They were sworn in Wednesday before the Pontiff’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, in a traditional May 6 ceremony that memorializes the day in 1527 when 147 guardsmen lost their life defending Pope Clement VII during Charles V’s sack of Rome.

Benedict XVI described the Swiss Guard’s fields of service as a series of concentric circles, saying that their work is not just linked to the person of the Pope, but extends to the city of Rome, and the universal Church represented by «the tombs of Peter and Paul, the heart of the Catholic Church.»

«The Catholic Church is international,» he said, «but in its multiplicity it is with all one sole Church, which is expressed in the confession of faith itself and which is concretely united to Peter and his Successor, the Pope.»

«This is a very important experience that the Church wants to give you, so that you make it your own and communicate it to others,» the Pontiff added. «The experience that with faith in Jesus and in his love for men, worlds that are so different can also become one sole thing, creating in this way bridges of peace and solidarity among peoples.»

The Guard was founded in 1506 and has 110 soldiers and a captain, currently Daniel Rudolf Anring.

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