Pope thanks Swiss Guard for 500 years of "priceless" service

Benedict XVI has thanked members of the Swiss Guard for their "priceless" service to the Church following their 720-kilometre pilgrimage from Switzerland to Rome to celebrate the fifth centenary of the group's founding in 1506.

Catholic News Agency reports that the pilgrimage, undertaken by past members of the Guard, traced the historic route of their predecessors 500 years ago to protect Pope Julius II and the Church from its enemies.

In his address to former and current members of the Swiss Guard, Pope Benedict greeted them in German, French and Italian, recalling the group's ceremonial entry into Rome.

"To greet you," said the Pope, "is the successor of Julius II, whose name is forever linked to the Pontifical Swiss Guard."

"I congratulate you for this wonderful initiative which reminds us of the valour of those 150 Swiss citizens who, with great generosity, defended even unto death the person of the reigning pontiff, writing with their sacrifice an important page in the history of the Church," the Pope said.

He went on, saying that "Considering these five centuries, we give thanks to God for the good your predecessors have done, and for the priceless contribution the Swiss Guard continues to make to the Holy See in our own time."

Pope Benedict thanks Swiss Guard for 500 years of 'priceless' service (Catholic News Agency 5/5/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Swiss Guard
Swiss Guard (Vatican website)

Swiss Guard celebrate 500 years of service to Pope (CathNews 24/1/06)

Pope thanks Swiss Guard for their priceless contribution (Vatican Information Service 5/5/06 - temporary url)
Declaration from Director of Holy See Press Office (Vatican Information Service 5/5/06 - temporary url)
Holy Father receives members of Papal Foundation (Vatican Information Service 5/5/06 - temporary url)
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Pope Benedict XVI: To the former Swiss Guards and to the participants in the "march" organized on the occasion of the V centenary of the foundation of the Swiss Guard (May 4, 2006)
Pope Benedict XVI: To the members of the Papal Foundation (May 5, 2006)
Pope Displeased by Illicit Ordinations in China (Zenit 4/5/06)
Ex-Swiss Guards Get Papal Blessing at Trek's End (Zenit 4/5/06)
Germany Sees Benedict XVI Differently Now (Zenit 4/5/06)
European Commission Chief Meets Pope (Zenit 5/5/06)
Benedict XVI Thanks Papal Foundation (Zenit 5/5/06)
Benedict XVI's Address to Papal Foundation (Zenit 5/5/06)
Pontiff's Address to Jesuits (Zenit 5/5/06)
Pope's Address on Rome's 2,759th Anniversary (Zenit 5/5/06)

8 May 2006