Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s address Saturday to the new recruits of the Swiss Guard, and their families.
Dear Relatives and Friends of the Papal Swiss Guards
On the day after your celebration, I am happy to meet with you and to celebrate with you, also to express my appreciation and my gratitude for your service, your availability and your fidelity to the Holy See. A particular greeting goes to the recruits and to their relatives, as well as to the representatives of the Swiss Authorities present here. It is good to see young men, like you, who dedicate some years of their life to the Church, specifically to the Successor of Peter: it is a unique occasion to grow in the faith, to experience the universality of the Church, and to have an experience of fraternity.
To grow in the faith. You are called to live your work as a mission that the Lord Himself entrusts to you; to receive the time you spend here at Rome, in the heart of Christianity, as an opportunity to deepen your friendship with Jesus and to walk towards the aim of every true Christian life: holiness. Therefore, I invite you to nourish your spirit with prayer and listening of the Word of God; to participate with devotion in Holy Mass and to cultivate a filial devotion to the Virgin Mary, and thus fulfil your special mission, working every day “acritier et fideliter,” with courage and with fidelity.
To experience the universality of the Church. The Tombs of the Apostles and the See of the Bishop of Rome are the crossroads of pilgrims that come from all over the world. Thus you have the possibility to touch with the hand the maternity of the Church, which gathers in herself, in her unity, the diversity of so many peoples. You can encounter persons of different languages, traditions and cultures, but who regard themselves brothers because they share in common faith in Jesus Christ. It will do you good to discover their Christian testimony and to offer them, in turn, a serene and joyous evangelical witness.
To have an experience of fraternity. This is also important: to be attentive to one another, to support one another in your daily work and to be enriched mutually, remembering always that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Know how to appreciate community life, the sharing of happy and of more difficult moments, paying attention to those among you who are in difficulty and sometimes are in need of a smile and of a gesture of encouragement and friendship. By assuming this attitude, you will also be favored in addressing with diligence and perseverance the small and big tasks of your daily service, witnessing kindness and a spirit of hospitality, altruism and humanity to all.
Dear Guards, I hope that you will live your days intensely, firm in the faith and generous in charity to the persons you meet. May our Mother Mary help you, whom we honor in a special way in the month of May, to experience increasingly every day that profound communion with God, which for us believers begins on earth and will be full in Heaven. In fact, we are called, as Saint Paul reminds us, to be “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). I entrust you, your families, your friends and all those who have come to Rome, on the occasion of the oath taking, to the intercession of Our Lady, of your Patrons, Saint Martin and Saint Sebastian. I ask you, please, to pray for me, and I impart to you my heartfelt Apostolic Blessing.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
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