Andrea, Mauro and Gian Andri are three of the 23 new Swiss Guards who have become part of the tiny but disciplined Vatican army.
"The first time I considered being a Swiss guard was five years ago. My father was happier than me, my mother, however, was a little more reserved. She wanted me to finish my studies."
"For me it is an honor and a privilege to be here. We are unique in the world, in that we can be so close to the Pope."
To enter this military body one must be Swiss, Catholic, less than 30 years old, measure at least 5'8'' and have first partipated in military service in their country.
They control access to the Vatican and are always present at large events. They don't speak much, but they see it all ... and support everyone.
GIAN ANDRI ARPAGAUS
"Argentines: Let me put it this way. I love them with all my heart but they shout a lot."
"Since my first day of service they put me on guard. It is two hours at the Bronze Doors or the Arch of the Bells. One suffers a little, but you get used to it.”
"Don't you get cramps?"
"Yes, but I suffer in silence and without moving.”
Some ended their college career and others must still complete their studies. Most of them will not stay more than two years in the Swiss guards. However, those who want to stay and marry must wait until they have completed three years of service, commit to another three years, be over 25 years old and be named sergeant.
AA / RR