The Pope sends his first Twitter message at the Vatican last night
Twitter now boasts a Holy hashtag after Pope Benedict XVI last night blessed his new internet flock of one million followers with the first Papal tweet, reports AFP on The Australian.
"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," read the tweet, which the 85-year-old pope sent from a tablet at the end of his weekly general audience.
Soon after with his second and third tweets, the Pope provided one of the questions sent to him and replied to it. "How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?" he wrote.
"By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need," he answered.
Since the Pope last week announced that he would start tweeting, more than 680,000 people had registered to follow his main account in English from the Twitter handle (@)Pontifex.
He also has 174,000 followers for his Spanish account, 96,000 in Italian, 25,000 in Portuguese, 19,000 in German, 18,000 in French, 10,000 in Polish and 7,000 in Arabic.
Given there are 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, these numbers are sure to grow.
Within 40 minutes, his first English-language tweet was retweeted 15,600 times. But despite this, the Pope's start on Twitter failed to make it on the worldwide trending topics.
The Vatican has invited the Pope's Twitter followers to ask questions that the pontiff will try to answer in 140 characters or less.
FULL STORY Holy hashtag! Pope Benedict tweets the flock (Australian)
Pope launches Twitter account (CNS)