Pope Francis on Saturday recommended to the new Swiss Guards to grow in faith, experience the universality of the Church and live in fraternity.
He said this in an address as he received the new recruits and their families in audience. The swearing-in ceremony was Friday; it is held annually on May 6 to commemorate the death of 147 Swiss soldiers who fell defending the Pope during the Sack of Rome (1527).
“It is good to see that young people like you dedicate several years of your lives to the Church, and in particular to Peter’s Successor,” he said.
To grow in faith, the Swiss Guards are called upon to live their work “as a mission that the Lord Himself entrusts to you,” the Holy Father affirmed; “to make the most of the time you spend here in Rome, in the heart of Christianity, as an opportunity to deepen your friendship with Jesus and to journey towards the aim of every true Christian life: holiness.”
The Pope then invited the new members of the Corps to nurture their spirit through prayer and by listening to the Word of God, to participate devotedly in Holy Mass and to cultivate filial devotion to the Virgin Mary, to carry out their special mission, working every day “acriter et fidelity,” bravely and faithfully.
“The tombs of the Apostles and the See of the Bishop of Rome are a crossroads for the journeys of pilgrims from all over the world. You therefore have the opportunity to touch with your hands the maternity of the Church who welcomes, in her own unity, the diversity of many peoples. You are able to encounter people of different languages, traditions and cultures, but who feel that they are brothers by virtue of their common faith in Jesus Christ.”
It is also important to experience fraternity, helping each other in daily tasks and mutually enriching one another, always remembering that “it is better to give than to receive.”
“By assuming this attitude, it will be easier to face with diligence and perseverance the tasks, large and small, of your daily service, giving witness to kindness and a spirit of welcome, selflessness and humanity towards all others.”
“Dear Guards, I hope that you may live your days intensely, steadfast in faith and generous in charity towards the people you meet,” Pope Francis concluded.