SCIOTO — If you’ve ever wanted to meet a Swiss Guard, that opportunity is just around the corner and you won’t have to travel across the ocean to Rome, Italy. Mario Enzler, former Pontifical Swiss Guard, will reflect on his time in service to Pope St. John Paul II as pontifical guard at the papal residence in Vatican City and Castel Gandolfo, on Saturday, February 26.
The free event is sponsored by the Scioto Catholic Consortium of parishes which include Holy Redeemer and St. Mary (the Catholic churches in Portsmouth), Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Pond Creek, and St. Peter Catholic Church in Wheelersburg. The free event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a spaghetti dinner, followed by Enzler’s presentation “I Served a Saint.”
Although the dinner and talk are free, reservations are required for seating and meal preparation purposes. Reservations may be arranged by calling the Scioto Catholic Consortium secretary at (740) 821-1457 during normal business hours Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. Deadline for reservations is Wednesday, February 23.
Enzler is a highly sought after speaker who has spoken both nationally and internationally. He is known for his humorous, engaging, and inspiring talks. His fascinating insights and reflections from his personal interactions with Pope St. John Paul II will be the focus of his presentation. He will share humorous moments as well as moments that reveal the pontiff’s saintliness through moving and light-hearted stories.
Born in Bergamo, Italy to an Italian mother and a Swiss father gave Enzler dual citizenship and allowed him to enter the Swiss Army which eventually led him to being selected for the elite Pontifical Swiss Guard. Enzler recalled that following graduate school he lacked direction. His father advised him to join the military to give his life some focus. When Enzler compared military service in the Italian Army to that in the Swiss Army he learned that the required duty was shorter in the Swiss Army and chose to go to Switzerland.
As his tour of duty in the Swiss Army was coming to an end he was approached by an officer who had recommended him for the highly regarded Pontifical Swiss Guard. At first, Enzler declined the offer, but quickly reversed his response when he learned of the noble service he would provide as a Swiss Guard.
Bergamo is not only the hometown of Enzler, it is also the birthplace of Pope St. John XXIII, the pontiff who convened the Second Vatican Council in 1962. Enzler dated a couple of the latter’s nieces but fell in love with an American girl studying in Rome.
Enzler is a husband and father of five who worked as a Swiss banker for several years following his service as a Pontifical Swiss Guard. When he and his family moved to the northeastern region of the United States he and his wife planned to open a genuine Italian gelato business. However, those plans were abandoned when they couldn’t find a classical curriculum education for their five children at any of the area schools.
Enzler wanted his children to experience the same classical curriculum that he had grown up with in his native Italy. As a result, Enzler and his wife founded a traditional classical curriculum academy. Soon afterward, Enzler was recruited by The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to bring his expertise to their finance program where he designed a graduate course in finance specifically for Ecclesial Administration.
Enzler is currently the Dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas.