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Local churches host a member of the Pope’s elite guard unit

Thierry Roch

Thierry Roch, a soldier with the elite Swiss Guard, poses with Pope Francis while working at the Vatican.

Last Sunday evening, parishioners at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church welcomed a visitor from the Vatican. Thierry Roch, a retired member of the Swiss Guard, came to share stories of his life as a soldier in what is considered the oldest and smallest army in the world.

Thierry made his way from Rome to Alabama at the invitation of Rev. Kevin Bazzel of the Diocese of Birmingham, who met Thierry while both were working at the Vatican. “I told Father Kevin I hoped to see the United States one day, and he arranged for me to visit,” Thierry said. While here, he is traveling to different churches within the diocese to talk about his time in the Swiss Guard.