In the end, the cool factor of having an invitation into the interior of Vatican City far outweighed the event itself. I felt so important carrying around a yellow ticket asking directions from officials to St. whoever's gate. I finally found it and made my way up the stairs with the small well-dressed crowd and my new haircut and my own new Italian suit. We were permitted to enter a courtyard where my special yellow ticket got me farther than others' green ones. It got me an actual seat.
Promptly at 5 o'clock, the ceremony began. On the inside of the Vatican, you're closer to being in Switzerland than Italy. It reminded me of a middle-school band recital, complete with a token intercultural bongo-and-accordion song. After the march in, each of the 20 or so inductees marched slowly up to a flag, gripped it and barked an oath either in Italian or German.
The ceremony lasted exactly 45 minutes and afterwards there was a reception in another, smaller courtyard where they were serving boxed wine and Peronis. I thought this interesting. All the new inductees were there with their proud families and chatting with medal-adorned military generals from various countries. I chatted with the guard I sat next to in a mix of French and Italian but his accent in both was very difficult to understand. He was about my age and I wondered what it would be like to be a guard here at the headquarters of a billion Roman Catholics. I left semi-sober and contemplated swiping one of the giant pikes that lined the exit hallway. It would have just been too awkward to run with.
Here's the ceremony's photo album
About This Entry
You are reading "Dinner at Mikki’s and a Swiss-Guard Induction Ceremony", an entry posted on 03 December 2008 by Andy Steves.