A year ago, the Roman Catholic Church had a new head in Pope Francis. Vatican recalled that last year, it announced the surprise election of Jorge Mario Beggoglio, a former cardinal at Buenos Aires, to become the new pope, the successor to Pope Benedict who in turn decided to step down for personal reasons.
But typical to Pope Francis, he marked the celebration of his first year in service not with an extravagant festivity. Instead, he decided to have a week-long spiritual retreat in a very simple building of a Catholic institution outside the papal residence.
A Vatican spokesman declared that within the day of the Pope’s first anniversary as religious head, he is not doing anything extraordinary. The spokesman said the pope is doing what he usually does in ordinary days—praying.
Tweet from retreat
But again, there is nothing ordinary about Pope Francis. He was able to post a tweet on his official Twitter account: @pontifex. The simple message read: “Pray for me.” It was translated in the same account to its Latin equivalent, “Orate pro me.”
Interestingly, the pope regularly tweets in nine different languages. Of course, those include English, Spanish, Arabic, and Latin. To date, his Twitter account has over 12 million active followers.
The Vatican said the countless retweets and messages of support also coursed through the social media were not yet seen or heard by the pope. That is because he has been occupied with prayer activities since the moment he got into the retreat.
Pope Francis is the first ever pope to become active in social media. Aside from creating and keeping his own Twitter account, he also set the record for being the first pope to have and post a selfie, with a group of teenagers in the Vatican.
During the recent World Youth Day, he used his Twitter account to bless the people. He even offered symbolic blessing to Twitter followers who would retweet and spread the message of the activity to the world.
Living in simplicity
Despite that, he has been living an example of simplicity in Vatican. When he went to the retreat, he just embarked in an ordinary bus. He is set to return to the Vatican in the same way this Friday, March 14.
He refused to live in spacious and luxurious papal apartments. Instead, he opted to reside in a guest house suite. He also opts not to use the traditional papal limousine in favor of a much simpler Ford Focus.