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The Roman Curia  

      Daily Life:

      At this point we should take a look at the normal routine of the Guard's day. Every day two thirds of the staff are engaged in mounting guard at the entrances to the Apostolic Palace. That is in the Courtyard of St. Damaso, the Belvedere Courtyard, on the floors of the various "Loggias", in the Sala Regia, in front of the Secretary of State offices, and also in front of the entrance to the Pope's private apartment, as well as at the external entrances, which are the Petrine Gate (formerly the Holy Office gate) at the Arch of the Bells, the Bronze Door and the St. Anna Gate. The Guard serves not only as a Guard of Honour but also keep order every time the Pope is in public, that is for liturgical celebrations in St. Peter's Basilica, at the General Audiences, during visits to the Pope by Heads of States or Governments, Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors. However, the day is not only given to these official duties; there is also the life of the Guard itself, that requires a series of inspections, briefings, marches and shooting practice. And of course time must be found for various group activities: the band, drums, choir and last but not least, sport: soccer matches against other Vatican teams such as the Vatican Security Corps, table-tennis and courses in self-defence. With all this physical and mental activity by relatively young men, it is obvious that the Quarters need a well run kitchen to provide for the Guard members in the most suitable manner. This task is admirably carried out by the Albertine Sisters, Servants of God. By way of conclusion, it would seem appropriate to mention that, once their service has ended, all those who have served with whatever title or grade in the Swiss Guard in the Vatican, remain in close contact with each other through the "Ex-Guardsmann Association" which publishes a regular bulletin, the "Exgardist". The members gather periodically for regional and federal meetings, and the latter are usually, if possible, attended by the Commandant and the Chaplain. However, the most important meeting is the one which takes place in the Vatican every year on May 6th, on the occasion of the "Swearing in" of the new recruits. Around them, on that day, hundreds of people come and go in the Guard's Quarters; relatives of the Guards in service as well as many ex-Guardsmen and their families pass a day of true and festive friendship. 


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      The Roman Curia