Being a Swiss Guard is not all feathered helmets and puffy striped uniforms.
To even apply, you must be Catholic, male, Swiss and between 19 and 30 years of age. You need to sign up for a minimum two-year hitch and must complete your mandatory military service back at home.
Swiss Guards take an oath to protect the present pope and whoever follows him as the latest successor to the first pontiff, Peter.
Tonight, when Pope Benedict XVI retires at 8 p.m., the Swiss Guards will go inside the papal palace at Castel Gandolfo and go off duty. They won't be staying, however — after they get out of their dress uniforms they will be driven back to Rome.
Benedict will then be guarded by Vatican security personnel.
— Frances D'Emilio — Twitter http://twitter.com/fdemilio
"Pope Live" follows the events of the final day of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy as seen by journalists from The Associated Press around the world. It will be updated throughout the day with breaking news and other items of interest. Follow AP reporters on Twitter where available.