You’ve seen the Swiss Guards at the Vatican – dressed in their eccentric, elegant and yet intimidating uniform, militarily prepared and solemnly sworn to protect the Pope even to death – and ready to turn any potential bad guys into Swiss Cheese!
Swiss Guards in action.
As a resident in Rome for 6 years, I’ve had many encounters with the Swiss Guards – all very positive, thankfully. They’d greet us at the Vatican with a respectful salute. The Swiss Guard soccer team would practice at our North American College facilities. You might even see some of them, after work hours, enjoying a fraternal meal at one of the off-the-beaten-path Roman restaurants. In a way, they were Vatican celebrities. You want to get to know them but they weren’t permitted to have casual conversations with people. They all looked like Swiss Military Models.
Above all, they lead intriguing lives. You have to be a certain height, Swiss born, and pass an enduring military endurance test. But the most important quality was an undying faith to protect the Pope, to faithfully practice their Catholic faith, and ultimately be willing to die in order to fight in God’s army – i.e., become a Saint. Wouldn’t you want to get a picture with a person like that?
The Pope returns a “salute” to a saluting Swiss Guard.
Never in a million years would I have thought to hang out with, much less share a kitchen and cook with a Swiss Guard. But, this past week, that’s exactly what I did.
Me and Celebrity Chef/former Swiss Guard/friend David Geisser on the set for an episode of my show “Savoring Our Faith” this past week.
Meet Celebrity Chef, former Swiss Guard, 3-time Best-Selling cookbook author, (and now, good friend) David Geisser. He is on an introductory tour for his newest book, The Vatican Cookbook – which talks about the cuisine of the Swiss Guards, and also a special inside culinary exploration of the favorite foods of St. Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.
I filmed 2 episodes with Chef David in Alabama, plus one more episode in the home of an EWTN fan family, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Rumore and their 9 beautiful children. While it’s always a busy day to film 3 episodes in one day, I must say that the foundational training that the Rumore parents gave to their children made the day run like a well-oiled military machine. These kids were so well behaved, so helpful to clean up in between sets, skilled in the kitchen, and also very well versed in their Catholic faith. They worked so well as a family, they were as colorful and impressive as an army, and in particular the Swiss Guards!
The Rumore family (yeah, that’s 9 kids!) pose with Chef David and me on set in Alabama.
In this past day of filming, I felt very blessed to meet such great people. I looked up to all these people – figuratively and of course, literally! Yes, they were all so very tall!
Together, we cooked a huge meal – some from the cookbook, and some from my own creation. Be sure to look out for new episodes every Thursday at 5:00pm Eastern Time, checking your local cable station for EWTN.
For more information on The Vatican Cook Book, visit Sophia Press. But above all, pray for the Swiss Guards and for all families of faith – that we all work together with the common mission to protect our family and to eventually be counted among the Saints – God’s army who conquers all things with the Love of Jesus Christ.
Let us pray
Father, let us all be bearers of the great weapon of Love, using the word of God not as a weapon to harm lives but to help save souls. May we listen to the commands of the leader – our Lord Jesus Christ – and do what an army does best: protect our freedom, fight for truth, and to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of spreading God’s love to our brothers and sisters. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Don’t Forget About Special Travel Opportunities to Rome with Fr. Leo!
Do you want to go to Rome with me and see some Swiss Guards, Holy Sites, and eat fabulous foods! Sign up as end of registration is fast approaching: