For a special message add @Pontifex to your Twitter
Holy Father will begin sending tweets on Wednesdays.
Twitter fans will soon get to add Pope Benedict XVI to their feeds. The Holy Father has his account under the name "@Pontifex". Next Wednesday, Benedict is expected to make his first tweet to answer a question about faith.
The Holy Father will have to keep his tweets short, he gets 140 characters like everybody else, but he may send more than one per week as more followers join.
Benedict has made a point to tell the clergy that the Church must be present in the digital realm. Many people are spending more and more of their time living, working, and playing in a virtual realm where virtually anything goes. Just as the Church has a presence in the physical world, so it should also have a presence in the digital.
The Vatican said the Pope will compose the tweets himself.
Despite the fanfare, this is not the first tweet from Benedict. In June 2011, he sent a tweet to the Vaticaan News site, @news_va_en, to announce the launching of the site.
Religious leaders have used Twitter for some time already, making Pope Benedict a relative latecomer. The Dali Lama has over 5.6 million followers on the service. However, this could be swiftly overtaken by the Holy Father who leads a flock of over a billion faithful.
The use of Twitter also allows the Pope to communicate directly with the youth, who tend to be on the go and living, at least a significant portion of their lives, on their smartphones and iPads. Twitter messages from the Holy Father will serve as reminders to the youth that someone is trying to reach them where they are at.
For those who speak Spanish, Italian, and French, there is also reason to rejoice - the Twitter feed will also send messages in those languages. Other languages are likely to be used to ensure the widest possible audience has the opportunity to share in the Holy Father's weekly tweets.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
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