21 February 2017

The Swiss Guards visit the Holy Land

The members of the army that has been protecting the Pope for over 500 years visited the Holy Land.

Actuality and events

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The Holy Land where Jesus Christ was born and lived. The Holy Place where the roots of the Church are embedded. Here, twelve members of the Vatican Swiss Guard had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage and have an enriching faith experience.

H. E. Mons. PETER BURCHER
Bishop of Reykjavík (Islanda)
"They certainly decided to come here, because they have received a general training that is specific for their service, but the foundation, the heart of this training is religious education and faith formation, and what could be better than to come to the Holy Land following in the footsteps of Jesus, Mary, the apostles, and especially of St. Peter, the first Pope, whom they now serve?"

Fr. THOMAS WIDMER
Chaplain of the Pontifical Swiss Guard
"Our faith is not an illusion, our faith is an encounter with Jesus Christ, Son of God, true God and true man. Seeing these places and knowing the history of the Holy Land can intensify this encounter with God.”

For these young guards who are willing, if necessary, to give their lives for the Successor of Peter and for the Church, being here is a unique experience.

STEFAN SUTTER
Swiss Guard
"We came here to see this beautiful country, but seeing how people of different religions can live together in peace is for me a unique experience."

PHILIPP MATHES
Swiss Guard
"Visiting the places where history and all of the Bible scriptures began is very interesting: the site where the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary took place, then all the places in Galilee where Jesus lived and gave His speeches, where he met with His disciples, the place and the way Jesus and St. Peter met....”

This is a historic moment, this being the first time that the Swiss Guards came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In addition, these young people also had the opportunity to meet the locals.

Fr. THOMAS WIDMER
Chaplain of the Pontifical Swiss Guard
"We met real people who live and work here, who work hard and who assist the sick, not only with medical care, but also with great humanity ... the boys have been touched by this experience"

An important visit for every one of them ... and also for the Holy Land!

Fr. JUAN MARIA SOLANA, L.C
Notre Dame Institute
"They are known and highly appreciated all over the world for what they do, for the service they render to the Church and in particular to the person of the Vicar of Christ. Therefore, the fact that they came to the Holy Land for a pilgrimage of faith and devotion may encourage many others to do the same."

The Swiss Guard is at the Pope's service since 1506. Among the admission requirements: recruits must be between 18 and 30 years of age, height of not less than 1.74 meters, they must be Catholic and have participated in the military basic training in the Swiss Armed Forces, having obtained a certificate of good conduct. Its members are called, in the words of Pope Francis, to a serene and joyful Christian testimony to those whom they welcome at the Vatican.