Life 23 new Swiss Guards enter the service Posted on 3 weeks ago 2 min read Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ They are all Swiss, young, Catholic and unmarried; the 23 men who were sworn in on Saturday to serve with the Swiss Guard for at least the next 26 months. Pope Francis said ahead of the ceremony to the recruits and their families that the Watch should be “an environment of human and Christian formation for all”. “Your mission here in the Vatican is a path that the Lord has opened for you to live your baptism and joyfully witness your faith in Christ.” The ceremony is held on 6 May each year to commemorate the 147 Swiss soldiers who died on that date in 1527 while protecting Pope Clement VII during the sack of Rome. Faithful, loyal and honorable During the swearing-in ceremony at the end of the afternoon, the new papal Guards marched in formation in front of their families, members of the Roman Curia and Swiss dignitaries in a Vatican courtyard. One by one, they placed one hand on the flag of the Swiss Guard while raising the other with three fingers to symbolize the Trinity. In one of the four official languages of Switzerland – German, French, Italian or Romansh-the recruits swore to serve the pope and his legitimate successors “faithfully, loyally and honorably” and, if necessary, to sacrifice their lives for his defense.