On May 6, 34 new Swiss Guard recruits will take the oath

The ceremony will take place, according to tradition, in the Patio of San Damasus of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, at 5 p.m., on the occasion of the anniversary of the sacking of Rome where 189 Swiss guards defended Clement VII against the army of Charles V. It will be present as representative of the Pope the substitute Monsignor Peña Parra

Thirty-four recruits of the Pontifical Swiss Guard will take a solemn oath on May 6, as is tradition, at 5 p.m., in the Patio of San Damasus of the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican. Each year, the new guards take the oath on the anniversary of the sack of Rome, where 189 Swiss Guards defended Pope Clement VII against the army of Charles V. The oath is taken on the flag of the Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps and in the presence of the representative of the Holy Father, Monsignor Edgar Peña Parra, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The oath

The guards thus swear to protect and defend the current Pope and all his legitimate successors, even at the risk of their own lives, as our brave and faithful ancestors did in the past. The chaplain will read the formula of the oath: I swear to faithfully, loyally, and honorably serve the reigning Pontiff and his legitimate successors, dedicating myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing, if necessary, even my life in their defense. I assume the same duties as with the College of Cardinals during the vacant Apostolic See, I also promise the Commander and the other Superiors respect, fidelity and obedience. So I swear that God and our Patron Saints will assist me. The guards will then respond to the flag: “I, Halberdier…, swear to faithfully, loyally and honorably observe everything that is read to me at this moment. May God and our Patron Saints assist me!” This will be followed by the deposition of the crown in honor of the fallen on May 6, 1527, with the presentation of honors in the “Plaza de los Protomártires Romanos” by Monsignor Peña Parra.

Vespers and Mass

The program – broadcast by the Swiss Guard – includes Vespers in the Church of “Santa Maria della Pietà in Campo Santo Teutónico” at 5 p.m. on May 5, followed by the exhibition of the wreath in honor of those who fell on May 6. May 1527 with the presentation of honors in the “Plaza de los Protomártires Romanos” by the substitute Monsignor Peña Parra. On the 6th, at 7:30 p.m., a Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica, presided over by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State. Then, at 5:00 p.m., the Oath in the Patio of San Damaso of the Apostolic Palace (in case of bad weather the ceremony will be held in the Paul VI Hall).

Festive event

The event takes place in a festive atmosphere. The guards wear the “Gran Gala”, the full armor-inclusive uniform worn for the papal blessing “Urbi et Orbi” at Christmas and Easter. A delegation from the Swiss Confederation will be present, led by the president of the Confederation, Viola Amherd, together with the president of the National Council, Eric Nussbaumer, and the president of the Council of States, Brigitte Eva Herzog. In addition, the head of the Army will be represented by Brigadier Jacques Frédéric Rüdin, deputy chief of the Army General Staff, and the representative of the Swiss Episcopal Conference, the president, Monsignor Felix Gmür, bishop of Basel, will be present. The delegation from this year’s host canton, Basel-Country, is led by the cantonal government and headed by the president of the cantonal government, Monica Gschwind.