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Pope Francis honours new Swiss guards

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Pope Francis honours new Swiss guards
Photo: Pope Francis welcomes members of the Swiss Guard at the Vatican. Photo: Osservatore Romano/AFP
20:43 CEST+02:00
Pope Francis on Monday thanked the Swiss Guard corps for their "kindness" to him and to all the tourists in the Vatican as 35 new members of the ancient papal protection force were sworn in.

"You are called on to testify your faith with joy and with the kindness of your expression," the Argentine pope said.

"This is important for all the people who pass through Vatican City, but also for those who work in the Holy See and for me too!" 
   
Francis was speaking at a meeting with the corps in the richly-decorated 
Clementine Hall in the Vatican at which he also said that "every day I experience the devotion, professionalism and love with which you carry out your activities".
   
Later on Monday, an oath-taking ceremony was held in the presence of Swiss 
President Ueli Maurer, who was visiting the Vatican.
   
The ceremony is held every year on the anniversary of the resistance of the 
Swiss Guards in defence of pope Clement VII (1523-1534) when the troops of Charles V sacked Rome on May 6, 1527.
   
Swiss Guards have to be aged under 30 in good health and with no criminal 
record.

They must also be at least 1.74 metres (five feet, seven inches) tall and single.

The 
service lasts at least two years.

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