Vatican City, 6 May 2014 (VIS) – The swearing-in ceremony for the new recruits to the Swiss Guard, which takes place every 6 May, was held at 10.30 this morning in the San Damaso courtyard. Before cardinals, bishops, members of the Curia, representatives of the diplomatic delegations to the Holy See, the Swiss Army, relatives and friends, the thirty new recruits swore their allegiance to the Holy Father one by one, over the flag of the Corps and wearing the traditional uniform. “There is a festive atmosphere. The sound of voices and music, the colours of the uniforms and flags, and the presence of many guests all show that this is an important moment”, said Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute of the Segretariat of State in his discourse, representing the Holy Father.
“Five hundred and eight years have passed since the establishment of this meritorious Guard corps”, continued Archbishop Becciu, “and the fact that Switzerland continues to send young men keen to serve the Pope is a cause for offering fervent thanks to God”. The prelate went on to encourage the new recruits to invoke with affection and devotion the two new saints, St. John Paul II and Saint John XXIII. “Ask them to help us to fulfil our obligations to the best of our abilities”. He also mentioned that this is the month of May, “the month of Mary, and so the commencement of your service is under the special protection of Mary most Holy”.
During the ceremony, the delegation from the canton Schwyz was led by the president Walter Stahlin and included the new Swiss ambassador to the Holy See, Pierre-Yves Fux. This afternoon at 5.30, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin will celebrate the Eucharist in St. Peter's Basilica, accompanied by the “Singkreis Brunnen”, a choir from the canton Schwyz.