The Pontifical Swiss Guard is expanding its presence in Switzerland through the creation of a new Press and Liaison office for authorities, in order to support the growing number of guards.
By Sophie Peeters
Due to the 2015 increase in the number of Pontifical Swiss Guards needed for service to the Pope and the Vatican, from 110 to 135 men, the need for a more robust annual recruitment process has grown.
The Guards therefore took the decision to establish a public relations office in Switzerland to provide better support for the recruitment process.
The goal of the Press Office is to offer a more direct point of contact for Swiss media and the various partners of the Swiss Guard, such as Pontifical Swiss Guard Foundation, the Barracks Foundation, and the Association of Former Swiss Guards.
The newly-created Liaison Office will represent the interests and concerns of the Swiss Guard Corps to various authorities and politicians.
With the creation of an active public relations network, the Pontifical Swiss Guard hopes a more expansive recruitment process will provide further support to the expansion of the Guard.
New head of media
The head of the Media and Liaison offices will be 57-year-old Stefan Wyer.
A native of the canton of Visp, Switzerland, Mr. Wyer has been working with the Swiss Guard for several years.
Since 1 July 2022, he has been an independent consultant in corporate communications and politics.
As head of the Press and Liaison offices, Stefan Wyer reports directly to the Commander of the Swiss Guard, Mr. Christoph Graf, and works closely with the Chief of Information and Recruitment (IRS), Mr. Bernhard Messmer.
Service of the Swiss Guard
The Pontifical Swiss Guard is one the smallest armies in the world, founded by Pope Julius II in 1506.
They are responsible for the protection of the Pope, both inside and outside of the Vatican.
The corps includes young men from all regions of Switzerland.
In 2015, the Swiss Guard grew from 110 guards to 135 to meet an uptick in requests.
Each recruit is required to complete military training in Switzerland and a special training course in Rome and Switzerland before beginning their service to the Pope.
Source: Vatican News