Swiss Guards make pilgrimage to Bavaria

VATICAN CITY — The Swiss Guards spent their summer vacation in Bavaria, making a pilgrimage to places associated with the early life of Pope Benedict XVI.

Msgr. Alain de Raemy, the corps’ chaplain, told the Vatican newspaper that after a successful group pilgrimage in 2006 “in the footsteps of St. Martin of Tours,” their patron, the Swiss Guards decided to do a pilgrimage together every few years.

For the 2010 trek, some suggested the Holy Land, others mentioned the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Poland, but Bavaria won “for various reasons, especially to help the guards understand more closely the personality of the pontiff through direct contact with his birthplace, his land, his people,” the chaplain said.

Obviously, all the guards did not go at the same time; even though the pope is on vacation, a group of guards are on duty at all times both at the papal summer villa and at the Vatican.

The chaplain said the pilgrimage was conducted three times this summer with each tour involving 30 to 40 guards.

Marktl am Inn, the Bavarian village where Pope Benedict XVI was born. (CNS/Reuters)

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