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Swiss Guard commander resigns to become police chief in Lucerne

Colonel Pius Segmuller, called by Pope John Paul II to take command of the Swiss Guard following the 1998 murder of the corps' commander, has resigned from his post.

Segmuller (pictured), 50, left the Vatican on Thursday to return to Switzerland, where he was named chief of police in Lucerne.

The pope, who met Segmuller and his family for a formal farewell audience in late September, did not immediately name a new commander of the Swiss Guard, a 100-member volunteer force of Swiss Catholic males who have completed service in the Swiss army.

The commander's four-year tenure as head of the Guard included a reform of the unit's training and promotion procedures, a strengthening of its ties with the Swiss military, new recruiting campaigns, new methods of candidate screening and the establishment of a foundation in Switzerland to support the guards.

Archbishop John Foley, the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, presided at a Mass for the outgoing commandant of the Swiss Guard, Col. Pius Segmuller.

He praised Colonel Segmuller for his loyal service to the Holy See, and for having "led the Swiss Guard through a profound crisis and a period of renewal."

Foley gave him a special vote of thanks for his work during the many mass ceremonies of the Jubilee year, and other special occasions such as the canonization of St. Josemaria Escriva, which brought 500,000 people to Rome earlier this month.

Catholic News Service/
Catholic World News

1998 Swiss Guard case may be reopened (9/7/02)
Swiss Guard
Swiss Guard (Vatican website)
Keepers of the Faith (Time 3/6/02)

28 Oct 2002