(Romereports.com) These 26 young men are the new recruits for the Vatican’s Swiss Guard. They are the pope’s army and every May 6 new recruits swear before the flag of the corp to serve “faithfully, loyally and honestly to the pope and his legitimate successors. And the College of Cardinals during a vacant see”.
The colonel and chaplain of the Swiss Guard addressed the new recruits. They reminded the recruits themeaning of work and the oath that they would perform.
Colonel Daniel Anrig
“We, as free men, provide volunteer service to the Holy Church.”
Fr. Alain de Raemy
Chaplain, Pontifical Swiss Guard
“The Lord asks each one of you if you swear to serve faithfully, loyally and honorably the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI.”
During the swearing in ceremony, the new Swiss Guards take the flag of the Guard in their left hand, while raising three fingers with their right, symbolizing the Trinity. They then swear their allegiance by stating “Yes, I swear. May God and our patron saints help me”.
To be admitted to the Swiss Guard, one has to be from Switzerland and be at least 5 foot 7, and a graduate with a professional degree. They must also be between 19 and 30 years old and previously served in the Swiss army.
In addition to protecting the Pope, the Swiss Guard has also been responsible for the security of the Apostolic Palace for over 500 years. Their beginnings date back to 1506, when Pope Julius II asked specifically for Swiss soldiers to serve as his protectors.
To show his thanks, Benedict XVI received the new recruits and their families in a special private audience.