Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Swiss Guard and Vocations: Part 3

Fr. de Raemy gives some explanations and answers :

Does living in the Vatican strengthen or weaken a vocation?
Father answered with a smile:
" Of course, seeing so many priests lessens your interest in becoming a priest, but it may also inspire a young man to seek out his vocational path...A person who is already asking himself if he has a vocation is not frightened. On the contrary, sometimes it happens that a young man arrives here without deep faith, wishing just to make an experience of life, and he discovers something he did not expect....."

Even though the Guards accept the religious dimension, the retreats and the Sunday Mass, and of course the very serious oath they take, they do not all arrive in Rome with a strong faith.
Fr. de Raemy describes the mix:
"Each one is surprised by the other one. The convinced one is surprised to meet someone who is less convinced, and the less convinced is afraid of the one he finds too convinced."

And then on the subject of the annual Lenten Retreat:
"Some of the Guards would like to do it in a much deeper way. One of the recruits, a quite convinced young man who lived for two years in a community in Switzerland but now asks himself if he is not more fit for marriage, came here to have the time to decide, and told me that for him it was difficult to combine his desire to give space for prayer with group solidarity. Many in the group just wanted to meet and chat."

What does Fr de Raemy do of he notices that one of the Guards is thinking of the priesthood?
"It depends on the individual case. Some perhaps say nothing and consider it a secret to keep, and do not want to be influenced. Others may talk openly about it, but they do not always ask me for specific help. But most of all, they have many questions about the faith. I can tell you about one in particular. When I arrived he contacted me immediately and wanted to talk. He had a project for his professional formation after the service, and talked to me at least once a week. I realised that he truly was a true searcher for God, a monk, that he wanted to know why he was in the world, the meaning of the world, he wanted to find the purity of the relationship to God. A transparent person, I never met any other young man like him. I told him you are made for the monastery. He went for two months to a monastery in Switzerkand, and now he is a novice and he is happy."

Here is a link to an interview with a Swiss Guard which I found on the Net quite independently of the ITA article, acknowledged at the beginning of this series of posts. At the time of the article's going to press there were in the Guard: one candidate for the priesthood, plus one in process of discernment, and two others who are open to discussing a religious vocation. "It is a good percentage," says Fr de Raemy. "Compared to the difficult situation in Switzerland, this is the group which produces the most vocations."

Aside from telling me more about the Swiss Guard themselves, I valued this article because it shows, without that particular intention, how important and complex is the calling of Chaplain to these young men.

God bless the Swiss Guard and their chaplain. Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for them.

(I hope that Videos of the Guard will follow in the next two posts.)

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