Pope Benedict XVI pushes a button on a tablet brought to him at the end of his general audience Wednesday. It read: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart." As the countdown to his first tweet from his Twitter handle @Pontifex neared, the pope had garnered nearly 1 million followers in the eight languages of his account.
The pope's first Twitter message to his followers was a blessing that used up all 140 characters.
Pope Benedict XVI marked the auspicious date of 12/12/12 by sending out his inaugral Twitter message from his personal account, @Pontifex.
"Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart," the 85-year-old pontiff wrote.
The pope is expected to respond to a few messages later in the day sent to him from around the world. His first tweets will answer questions about faith sent to #askpontifex. The account will also share content of the pope's weekly general audience, Sunday blessings and homilies on major Church holidays, Reuters reported.
In addition to his English account, the pope will also tweet from seven other official accounts, including Spanish, German, Polish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Arabic.
Wednesday's tweet marks the pope's second time using the social media platform. Over a year ago, Benedict XVI sent his very first tweet on the Vatican's official Twitter account to launch the Holy See's news information portal.
Vatican officials acknowledged that going forward the pope will be tweeting with the help of a team of employees.