ACTION ITEM! Helmet for one of the Swiss Guards – UPDATES

We’ve all had the experience at some time of spending time in poorly fitting clothing, perhaps with little opportunity to move about for relief.  We just have to bear it.

Now imagine that the ill-fitting clothing is completely unyielding, because it is made out of steel.

Try to get your mind around wearing for hours steel armor that doesn’t fit.

Some of you will remember the fundraiser we had to have “bespoke” armor made for one of the Pontifical Swiss Guards.  Back in 2015, we raised money so that CPL Bergamin could have armor made that fit him… rather than armor that once fit someone else.  The project was successful and he was able to have his armor before the important “swearing in” ceremony which is the anniversary of the great stand made by the Swiss at the Sack of Rome.   Engraved on the breastplate are images of St. Joan and St. Joseph.

Lot’s of great photos HERE, including his bride, Joanne, a friend of mine.  I spoke with both Dominic and Joanne about this project when I was in Rome during October.

That completed project in 2015 included the breastplate and shoulder pieces.

It did NOT include a helmet.

Again, I ask you to imagine wearing, for hours, perhaps in the sun, a steel helmet – not kevlar with liners – that doesn’t fit and during the ceremonies not being able to adjust.  Some of you may resonate with that.


A GoFundMe page has been created to make 15-year veteran CPL Bergamin a helmet that will fit.

The goal is


We can do this.


The motto to be engraved:

Transit dolor, manet honor.

Pain passes, honor remains.

The helmet is worn with the body armor on multiple days throughout the Swiss Guard calendar – over the 6 May swearing in ceremony and surrounding events, Easter, Christmas and other special occasions in the Vatican and the Swiss Guard. It is vital to capture the artisan tradition of metal-working while it still exists. The Swiss Guard armor has been made by a family of blacksmiths in upper Austria since the 18th century. This family will produce the first helmet of this kind in the traditional style of the Swiss Guard with the family crest of their founder, Pope Julius II.

Remember: These guys put their lives on the line.  And they are real targets because they are so visible.   And they are pretty devout, given my conversations with them.  The Swiss I’ve spoken to really appreciate the Combat Rosaries they get.

A helmet that fits is a good thing.

Here’s where we are now.


After a few hours.

Well on our way.   C’mon!   By day’s end!



Alright folks, let’s move this!


Can we make this the LAST day for this project? We are almost there!


WE DID IT! Thank you, everyone who contributed!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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One Comment

  1. rwj says:

    Thanks for sharing, these are some of the best men and Catholic families in the world!

    Does anyone know if he can use the helmet after it is produced? I’ve only seen the new black plastic helmets in use lately.

    [OF COURSE he can! That’s why he is having it made. Also, the Swiss have both black and silver helmets for different occasions.]

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