MAY 12 GENERAL AUDIENCE TO BE HELD IN SAN DAMASO COURTYARD – POPE FRANCIS GREETS NEW SWISS GUARD RECRUITS – POPE’S CLOSENESS TO INDIA AS IT STRUGGLES AGAINST COVID-19

I’ve attended many Swiss Guard swearing-in ceremonies over the years, including Mass with them in the Sistine chapel on their 500th anniversary, a ceremony that took place in the Paul VI Hall when there was inclement weather and several ceremonies in the traditional San Damaso courtyard, The main ceremony for the 500th anniversary was held in St. Peter’s Square – the entire 500th anniversary was a very special celebration with a number of events. I’ve placed some of my pictures of those moments in the vaticannews article you see below. (I obviously had a better camera in the last two slideshows!)

MAY 12 GENERAL AUDIENCE TO BE HELD IN SAN DAMASO COURTYARD

The Prefecture of the Papal Household has announced that, on Wednesday May 12, the Holy Father will preside over the general audience in the San Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. By observing the health indications provided, the faithful who wish to participate will be able to enter through the Bronze Goor in St. Peter’s Square. No entrance tickets are required.

POPE FRANCIS GREETS NEW SWISS GUARD RECRUITS

Pope Francis on Thursday received 34 new members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard, ahead of their afternoon swearing-in ceremony, telling them that the qualities of courtesy and helpfulness in their work “are a beautiful testimony and a sign of the Church’s welcome.”

By Vatican News staff reporter

Greeting the 34 new Swiss Guards and their families in the Vatican on Thursday, the Pope recalled the history of the Corps and the work many young men have carried out with commitment and fidelity that continues today.

He also spoke of members of the Guard that “have gone so far as to sacrifice their own lives to defend the Pope.”

500th Anniversary celebration of the Swiss Guards –

Vocation of the Swiss Guard

Pope Francis noted that many people have a calling in life, which means that some men have a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life. Others, he said, “follow the conjugal vocation and form their own families.”

Addressing the new recruits, the Pope said, “With you, I thank the Lord, the source of all good, for the various gifts and vocations He has entrusted to you, and I pray that those who are now beginning their service may respond fully to Christ’s call, following Him with faithful generosity.”

He also expressed his appreciation that young people “choose to dedicate some years of their lives in generous service to the Successor of Peter and to the ecclesial community.”

Swearing-in ceremony in the Paul VI Hall –

Thank you

During his greeting to the new recruits, Pope Francis took the opportunity to publicly thank “all the members of the Swiss Guard for their diligent service.”

“I greatly appreciate your ability to combine professional and spiritual aspects, thus expressing your devotion and fidelity to the Apostolic See,” he said.

Important qualities

The Pope went on to say that those pilgrims and tourists who come to Rome “have the opportunity to experience the courtesy and helpfulness of the guards at the various entrances to Vatican City. Never forget these qualities, which are a beautiful testimony and a sign of the Church’s welcome.”

Traditional ceremony in the San Damaso courtyard –

Concluding his address, Pope Francis extended his good wishes to the young recruits and expressed the hope that the time spent in the Eternal City would be an occasion for a deepening of their faith and an even stronger love for the Church.

(On January 22 this year, the Pontifical Swiss Guards turned 515 years old! Click here for story: Swiss Guards celebrate 515 years – Vatican News)

POPE’S CLOSENESS TO INDIA AS IT STRUGGLES AGAINST COVID-19

Pope Francis has sent a message to Cardinal Oswald Gracias expressing his closeness with the people severely hit by record infections and deaths from Covid.

By Robin Gomes (vaticannews)

Pope Francis has expressed his solidarity and closeness to the people of India, ravaged by the second wave of Covid-19 infections that has overwhelmed its healthcare system.

“At this time when so many in India are suffering as a result of the present health emergency, I am writing to convey my heartfelt solidarity and spiritual closeness to all the Indian people, together with the assurance of my prayers that God will grant healing and consolation to everyone affected by this grave pandemic,” the Pope wrote in a message to Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

The Holy Father particularly expressed his closeness to “the sick and their families, to those who care for them, and in particular to those who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.”

“I think too of the many doctors, nurses, hospital workers, ambulance drivers and those working tirelessly to respond to the immediate needs of their brothers and sisters. With deep appreciation, I invoke upon all of them God’s gifts of perseverance, strength and peace.”

Pope Francis expressed his gratitude to the Catholic Church of India “for its works of charity and fraternal solidarity carried out in the service of all.”

“I think especially of the generosity shown by so many committed young people.  I join you in commending to the Lord’s infinite mercy the faithful who have lost their lives, not least the great numbers of priests and men and women religious.”

“In these days of immense grief, may we all be consoled in the hope born of Easter and our unshakeable faith in Christ’s promise of resurrection and new life,” the Pope concluded, imparting his blessing.