Friday, May 05, 2006

Swiss Guards

I have to believe that if I had grown up in Switzerland, I would have aspired to be a Swiss Guard. Here, from the Vatican website is some of their history.

Yesterday's dispatch from Zenit had a story on the pilgrimage made to Rome by former Swiss Guards on the occasion of their upcoming (tomorrow) anniversary. Here's a piece of it:

The week surrounding their May 6 anniversary has been filled with celebrations marking their service to the papacy and the Church.

One former Swiss Guard explained the reason for this mass movement. "For us Swiss, it's an identifiable privilege to have this job charged only to us," Graziano Rossi told me. "And the guards still continue to give witness back home, even when their Rome days are long gone. We even dress in our uniforms for special occasions like Corpus Christi processions, weddings or ordinations."

Rossi served in the corps from 1989 to 1992. "Once you're a guard, you're a guard for life," he said. "It's like a definitive calling. … You renew your vows annually and are supposed to be on the ready for action at any stage." ...

Rossi said that a lot of the Guard's potency depends on a "secret weapon."

"While in service, we have an intense spiritual life," he revealed. "Our chaplain takes care of our personal spiritual direction. We go on beautiful retreats, have mandatory Mass requirements and are offered daily rosary and vespers."

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